2018 #6


by Yuval Yairi

Developing a semi-fictional alter ego he calls the Surveyor, Yuval observes the symbolism of the cyprus tree as an expression of time.

Where did the title of your new work, Cypher of the Cypress Tree come from?

While working on Surveyor, I found a drawing in an old topography guide which described a method for measuring the height of an object with a rod. Beyond its simplicity and practical function, the sketch might also represent some kind of a ritual connecting man, earth and space. This is where the title came from.

How does this new work act as a continuation from Surveyor?

I began observing cypress trees and realised they could act as replacements to some of the measuring tools I used. One of these was a plummet; a weight connected to a string creating a straight vertical line relative to earth. A typical cypress tree resembles this shape upside down, rooted in the earth and pointing towards the sky. Through these trees I was able to meditate on my connection to the land. As a continuation of Surveyor, I'm again developing various symbols and using similar processes, but this time I'm exploring new conversations and themes.

Where did the figure of “the surveyor” originate from?

“The surveyor” can be described as my semi-fictional alter-ego. This character was created whilst attempting to relate to difficult periods of my life, primarily during my military service as an aerial scout. “The surveyor” holds access to repressed places in my memory, helping me to process and convert them into a visual and symbolic language.

You talk about disassembling and reassembling time, space and events; how does this translate into images?

Many of my works are constructed from multiple photographs. Having chosen a space to observe, I then photograph a small portion of it, before moving the camera and recording another area. This method is repeated, and I sometimes collect these spatial fragments over several days. I then re-photograph certain parts that have undergone changes; perhaps in lighting or in the position of objects. Later, I combine the fragments into a final work documenting both time and space. Observing and photographing is “the memorising stage” both in my mind and on the camera’s memory card – in natural and artificial memory. The “recollection stage” is about putting together the different segments.

Text by Georgie Sinclair, Unseen Platform

Read more (1 min read)

Cypress day

Cypress day

Cypher Cypress

Cypher Cypress

Yuval Yairi

Jerusalem, IL

Self portrait Yuval Yairi

Yuval Yairi

Jerusalem, IL

Israeli artist Yuval Yairi (b. 1961, Israel) deploys a range of materials - from found objects to film - to recompose place and history. Abandoned and nostalgic spaces - a leper hospital, a writer's library, a cheap hotel room, an abandoned Arab village or museum undergoing renovations - are deconstructed, transformed through the context of memory. Trained as an aerial scout in the army, his work is highly disciplined, with each component strategically placed within the frame. Imposed distance allows Yairi to reflect back on troubling chapters of his life and polarising between the subjective artist and removed surveyor, he proposes questions of time, identity and morality.

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