Israeli based photographer and lecturer, Yuval Tebol's "Land Research" is a decade long photographic journey across the landscape of Israel. He conducts a visual and thematic research of the internal conflict in Israel, from the West Bank and Jordan's Arava desert, through Jerusalem to the Gaza envelope settlements. The project, according to Tebol, seeks to emphasize the psychological consequences of the conflict and human impact on the land.
Using an analog medium format camera and Black and White film, Tebol reflexively deconstructs the image at the scene and reconstructs it during post production editing, resulting in a series of surreal panoramic triptychs and tetraptychs alongside large scale grids composed out of a single scene. The choice to photograph in Black and White follows Barthes and Flusser's theoretical writing, claiming Black and White photography to be less manipulated while honestly disclosing its conceptual origins.
Tebol's work resonates with predecessor artistic movements, ranging between the "New Topographics" with his empty but marked landscapes, Figurative Surrealism by creating a "Meta-Reality" and Futurism by constructing a new model which befits the world as he experiences it, one which merges what he sees with what he remembers. His constructed grids resemble the Becher's typological visual research, approaching photography the same way a botanist might approach the cataloguing of flora and fauna. Even though, his photography engages the emotions and the intellect, and can by no means be described in a formalist way.
He photographs with obsession. Traveling through the land of Israel, border to border, seeking after traces of warfare and militarism, depicting wounded and scarred landscapes, deprived of human presence other than the traces left after the drama subsided. The scenery in Tebol's work is one of collective memory and identity as well as his personal projection onto the world. In a De-constructive manner, his work contains a layer of criticism, even if not political. Dismantling the locations from all historical truth and reason that they seemed to initially convey, he reveals them solely as an interpretation, one of infinite possibilities. Tebol pursues the meaning of his scarred and abandoned landscapes, to the point of exposing the supposed contradictions and internal oppositions upon which they are founded, revealing the instability and complexity of those foundations.
Tebol returns repeatedly to the "crime scene" with an air of post trauma. Reuniting with the unconscious, the anxiety, the violence, the trauma of death. Deconstructing and reconstructing, he frees himself from the hermetic boundaries of memory, remapping the past and through that- the present and future. Tearing down and rebuilding the image, laying down new mechanisms of order and control, new spaces of external observation and internal nature, in a never-ending journey towards catharsis.
Sofie Berzon Mackie, Curator