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'Photo Op' opens at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
Installation view.

TEL AVIV.- The exhibition "Photo Op" focuses on the conditions of photography and seeks to isolate them from daily circumstances and timing, to found itself on them and place them at the center of its endeavor. The process which develops and transforms in the viewers' presence throughout the exhibition's running and within its space exposes the format of the exhibition, with its operating mechanisms and objects. There is something of a Cartesian disconnection from sensory-based experience in Matalon's choice to renounce the external world as a source of images and navigate his journey among photography's basic materials. However, while these foundational materials are assimilated—through processes based on digital procedures rather than photographic actions—the backward-turned gaze is focused on a primary yet novel space. This frenetic space constantly oscillates between photography's basic materiality (drawing with light, by definition) and its total absence (such as binary writing) and opens up an abyss between the simple façade of the medium’s primary features and the complexity at the root of its contemporary uses.

The images in the exhibition are vestiges of the use of photographic materials, attesting to the manipulations effected on them. The images present and represent these very actions by abolishing their hierarchy, but bestow on them different roles and thus different significance in the discourse of representation. Presenting the photographs as single images or in series is subject to change; such changes are inherent to the exhibition's format and affect the way its images are read and the interpretation that accompanies their viewing. The installation avoids linear regularity as well as overt editing principles, but it does create certain contexts that provide clues to its syntactic logic and allow one to deduce meanings.

Various pairs of contrasting photographs, showing the negative and positive forms of the same image, are installed in the exhibition, charging these opposites with significance that stems from their position in space. This allows one to deduce the principle that underlies several monotonous images, which embody, with beautifully gentle grey hues, a perfect correlation between opposites, which only a minimal shift saves from collapsing into a monochromatic void. This gap or shift—the photo opportunity found among photography’s conditions of possibility—is, as it turns out, an infinite space despite, or perhaps thanks to, turning its back on the world.

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