Israel Patrons Circle

Sharon Ya’ari‘The Romantic Trail and the Concrete House’, 2020

What breaks and fissures emerge when societal vision and everyday life clash? In what way do formal and ideal influences continue in another reality of life? The Israeli photographer Sharon Ya’ari explores such questions in his first solo show in Germany at Haus Esters.

Built by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the late nineteen twenties, Haus Esters and Haus Lange are two of the most iconic structures of modernist architecture in Germany and can be associated with notions of an open, forward-looking society. The special atmosphere and architecture of these former private homes have regularly inspired artists since being repurposed as exhibition venues for contemporary art.

Sharon Ya’ari builds on this site-specific tradition to the extent that he developed new works and series for Haus Esters based on the reality of his own life. The starting point of Ya’ari’s photographic exploration is the connection between the ideas of European modernism between the World Wars and the effort to implement them in the young State of Israel. Sharon Ya’ari traces the legacy of modernist formal language in his native country. He is not concerned with the perspective of architectural photography but rather with marginalia, the relics of everyday life, the fragile relationships between human beings and the elements of their environment. Modernist utopias overlap with the history of its breaks and the conflictual reality of everyday life. The search for the traces of modernism’s great visions thus becomes a mirror of human living conditions.

Sharon Ya’ari (*1966, lives and works in Tel Aviv and teaches at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem) is one of the most renowned Israeli artists of his generation. In 2018, he was awarded the EMET Prize for Arts, Science and Culture, the most generously endowed Israeli prize, which is awarded annually for excellence in academic and professional achievements that have far-reaching influence and make a significant contribution to society. Sharon Ya’ari‘s work is characterized by a precise as well as versatile use of the photographic medium that he comprehends as a means of cultural and political research.

Exhibition view, Courtesy the artist, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv/Zurich, Martin Janda Galerie, Wien, Photo: Dirk Rose