Mati Elmaliach » Artist / photography

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Foldings | 2014

In a world overly full of images, I found no need for recording new ones. Rather, I re-examine past “conventional” photos, giving them new interpretations; challenging and generating interactions between different images. I focus on ordinary photos taken from old magazines, mostly of the 1970′s and 80′s. Creating collages to integrate seemingly unrelated images, I attempt to give them different novel interpretations, relating to exposure of repressed human drives and instincts which I conceive to be within one’s self-image.

The identity, concepts and agenda of the photographer are of no importance to me. My interest lies in taking over the photos, focusing on images of body, sexuality and gender identity. In my work, existing images serve as a basis for new ones: imagery as a foundation for imagination. Generating new of old: taking sides, disrupting, redirecting, deleting or highlighting identities, creating unexpected interactions.

Through the collages I aim to create interactions between images. However, in place of the common copy-and-paste strategy, I generate layers, physically overlaying images, superimposing them one on another. The mere folding of the image and its pasting upon another, generates volume and shadows in the space between the layers. These shadows urge and tempt the viewer to look carefully trying to find what lies underneath. But the collage scanning cancels the layers of the image, turning it into a single flat whole unit. Some facets are hidden and obliterated, while others are imported from other images, so that a new combined puzzling figure is generated, bringing to life totally novel hidden interpretations.

In forming the collages, the technique used involves unraveling of layers of color that evolve through the process of printing on paper. Thus, through exposing the image to light, the other side of the page is exposed; in a way – another facet of the image. This exposure creates an interesting relationship that was generated by chance – as the location of the pictures on the same place on two sides of the same page is random – the editors had no awareness or planned agenda in this regard. The unrelenting bond between the two images on both side of a page, and their eternal relationship – are the result of pure chance. This insight led me to generating collages made up of digital layers, working with transparencies. Choosing to work also with digital technology allows me to generate enhanced generation of  ‘digital photograms”, no longer relying on chance; positioning images in a directed manner, as opposed to the chance positioning by the unaware newspaper editor. My awareness of this activity has generated an aesthetic and graphic language of “sculptured” figures and images, intervening and controlling the view made available to the spectator.  I examine the interactions between images, between them and myself as an artist, focusing on eroticism and sexual identities, giving them new aesthetic forms with different connotations. In many of the novel images, I have the urge to direct the viewer to a specific highlight, a red dot, semi-transparent, not opaque and somewhat revealing; such that highlights and emphasizes. A point that is a focus of interest for me as an artist, and possibly such that obliterates the original “punctum”, generating a novel artificial focus. Directing the viewer to a distinct point, from which one is scattered to an imaginary photographic space set in novel and different dimensions.

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