OHAD MATALON. THE ZONE

OHAD MATALON.
THE ZONE

Ohad Matalon’s body of work, The Zone, on going since1998, is amongthe most iconic ofallcontemporary Israeli photography;its composite images sketcha cultural, geopolitical and social map of the State of Israel. They include symbols, figures and regionsthrough whicha multihued mirror revealsIsraeli center-peripheryrelations, echoingthe past and present, while meta-artistically examining howMatalon formulates his ownvisual languageinboththe national and the personalsense.

Matalon roams with his camera on the geographical and social margins of Israel, seeking out their unique, individual characteristics. The discrepancy between ways of representing the hegemonic and conventional, familiar from the history of photography and Israeli visual culture—architectural structures, nationalceremoniesand newspaper images—illuminates repressed or denied layers in the modes of emerging as a society. Thus it alsosignifies the flexibleidentities and meanings that can be gleaned fromthe interrelations between the photographer, the photographed subjects, the spectator and the photographs.

Although Israeli society serves here as a test case, theseimages are also relevant to regions elsewhere in the world wherea visual communication language shaping the face of society is being formed. This occurs, for instance, byestablishinga national ethos that is incorporated intogovernmental supervisionand control over various populations.

The Zone presents the spectator with a multi-layered tapestry of images, some of which I have chosento observe through a few different strategies commonly employed by Matalon, that clearly characterize this photographic series: the ironic use of symbolic language historically identified with Israeli society, reflexive observation of the East-West relations through acommon visual infrastructure, points of interface in painting-photography relations and their influence on Matalon’s work, and a functional exploration of the photographic manipulation of truth and fiction as perceived by theconsumers, i.e., the spectators.

GROUP PORTRAIT

The Zone presents the spectator with a multi-layered tapestry of images, some of which I have chosento observe through a few different strategies commonly employed by Matalon, that clearly characterize this photographic series: the ironic use of symbolic language historically identified with Israeli society, reflexive observation of the East-West relations through acommon visual infrastructure, points of interface in painting-photography relations and their influence on Matalon’s work, and a functional exploration of the photographic manipulation of truth and fiction as perceived by theconsumers, i.e., the spectators.

 

Read the full article on Israeli Lens Magazine Issue #10 Street Photography

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