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Dor Guez

Artist presented by
Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel / Brussels, Belgium

LILIES OF THE FIELD
*Based on Pressed-flowers Album created by the American Colony in Jerusalem, 1900-1914. American Colony Archive, Jerusalem

Mapping connections between historical archives, photography, and performance, Guez’s latest photographic series mines the rich historical and mythological dimensions of Jerusalem as a site of religious and political projection. Guez’s "Lilies of the Field" is comprised of luminous prints of pressed floral and plant arrangements that the artist discovered in his research of the American Colony archive.
The flowers represent a diversity of flora indigenous to the holy land, and the areas surrounding the Old City. As popular souvenirs for tourists and missionaries, the pressed flowers in themselves document different forms of devotional labor, from the work of the artisans who pressed the flowers, to those who made the journey and acquired them as souvenirs. Selected by Guez these plant-based objects are embedded with contradictions implied by a discrete piece of nature – the flower – preserved in resin, frozen like taxidermized game captured by a hunter. Equally contradictory is his use of color which belies the natural conditions of the landscape from which the plants emerged.
Guez’s process involves tracing the remnants of this yellow pigment, and photographing the front side of each flora arrangement, and then of the other side of its overlaying sheet, which, over the course of a century, had absorbed most of carotenoid pigment. By aligning the two images – that of the flowers, with that of the pigmented protective layer – he re-conceptualizes the images to reflect the time that has passed since they were made. This process produced two photographic series, both photographic negatives. Describing the method of production, Guez writes, “The first, based on the flowers themselves, simulates a photogram of the flowers on a scale of 1:1, while the second, by converting the yellow to its complementary shade on the color spectrum, simulates large- scale cyanotypes. With attention given predominantly to the pigment shed by the flowers rather than to the flowers themselves, I undermine the hierarchy between what is perceived as authentic, as opposed to fabricated.”

Sara Reisman, curator and writer, executive director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, New York.


DOR GUEZ
Born in Jerusalem, Israel.
Lives and works in Jaffa, Israel.
Guez’s photography, video, mixed media and performances explore the relationship between art, narrative, and memory. Interrogating personal and official accounts of the past, Guez raises questions about contemporary art’s role in narrating unwritten histories and re-contextualizing visual and written documents. Since 2006, his ongoing research focuses on archival materials of the Middle-East region. To date, 8 catalogues have been published internationally about Guez’s practice, and his work has been displayed in over 35 solo exhibitions worldwide.