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Yossi Galanti
Creation's Details
Title: Face to Face
Year: 2005
Dimensions: 224.5x40 cm.
Material: Digital photograph and print

 

Statement

 “The Torah is not learned alone but in pairs." (Talmud Bavli Brachot [63b])

The prevalent learning method in the world of yeshivot is with a hevruta, that is to say, with a study partner. The hevrutot usually meet regularly and form a profound and complex study relationship. In this work I would like to examine the I and the We in the hevruta, as written in the Talmud, “hevruta or mituta" (a study partner or death). In this context death signifies spiritual non-existence and idleness. (Talmud Bavli Taanit 23a)
The panorama, as a descriptive method, constructs an artificial space of visibility offering it to the viewer as a natural one .
This technique made it possible to separate the two scholars, who sat facing each other, and study them individually. The camera was located between them and the photographs were taken on an axis, along 180 degrees of the event space. Each person was photographed over a period of time, and according to the development of the interaction. The on-location process resulted in a visual separation of the togetherness and the montage of the photographs created a situation in which the individuals were separated from their original object of reference. For the final result, the two portraits that best reflect the atmosphere and spirit of the encounter were chosen.
Two is the smallest quantity of togetherness; by breaking the axis of time and entering the tension-filled encounter point of the hevruta, the viewers' gaze is encountered and confronted personally with each figure, turning them into a third party in the event.
The documented event took place in an attic in a small bet midrash in the Nachlaot neighborhood of Jerusalem. This location – a small space without the splendor and glory of the big yeshivot and without any other human figures - intensifies the appearance of the inhabitants. In the center of the work, on the ornamental curtain covering the front of the Holy Ark, the verse "I have set the Lord always before me" (Psalms 16, 8) further enriches the meaning of hevruta. Adjacent to it, a commercial sign offers: "Free advertising with us" which emphasizes the contrast between the material world, which is based on money and offers "free" as a temptation, and the words of the Mishna: "Provide for yourself a teacher and acquire a friend". (Pirkei Avot 6a)

 

Joseph Nahmias, The Edge of the City/Yossi Galanti, (Exhibition Catalogue) Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004, p. 3.

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