Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Tal Barel

Jun 12, 2017 - Ben Alper

A friend recently pointed me in the direction of Tal Barel‘s work.  Her series Fool’s Gold is a cryptic and at times oblique examination of empirical institutions.  Drawing parallels between the photographic process and the museum, both of which are vessels for classifying and presenting information, Barel’s images, on the surface anyway, seem to project and uphold the authorial voice of the institution.  Objects of seeming importance – a Greco-Roman bust or an oversized crystal – are presented singularly, with physical and psychological space provided for careful consideration and scrutiny.

 

However, as you make your way through the images this authority begins to breakdown. Barel’s subjects are so isolated and disparate from one another that the institutional logic and continuity that often upholds our belief in the system begins to weaken.  What we’re left with is a mounting sense of artificiality – a world of knowledge so constructed and antiseptic that it calls into question the very processes of ascribing historical and cultural value. Ultimately, for me, these photographs are about power.  They point toward decisions and motives made behind closed doors by influential and often anonymous people. They are like shadows of shadows.

 

You can see more of Fool’s Gold here.