WallPhotographs by Josef Koudelka
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Josef Koudelka’s Wall comprises panoramic landscape photographs he made from 2008 to 2012 in East Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and in various Israeli settlements along the route of the barrier separating Israel and Palestine.
Whereas Israel calls it the “security fence,” Palestinians call it the “apartheid wall,” and groups like Human Rights Watch use the term “separation barrier,” the wall in Koudelka’s project is metaphorical in nature—focused on it as a human fissure in the natural landscape. Wall conveys the fraught relationships between humankind and nature and between closely related cultures.
A chronology, lexicon, and captions provide context for the photographs. Wall is part of a larger project, This Place, initiated by photographer Frédéric Brenner that explores Israel as place and metaphor through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers, who were invited to look beyond dominant political narratives —not to judge, but to question and to reveal.
Josef Koudelka (born in Moravia, Czech Republic, 1938) has received the Prix Nadar, Grand Prix National de la Photographie, Grand Prix Cartier-Bresson, and Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and the International Center of Photography, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and Palais de Tokyo, Paris. A member of Magnum Photos, he is based in Paris.
“We’ve seen Josef Koudelka’s stunning black-and-white panoramas before, in Chaos. Individually, these photographs of the ‘security fence’ (as Israelis call it) or the apartheid wall (as it is known by the Palestinians whose lives and landscape are blighted by it) have a stark and spectacular beauty. Taken together they create a daunting feeling of visual incarceration so intense, on a scale so massive, that the sky itself is—by turns—implicated, outraged.”—Geoff Dyer, “TIME Picks the Photobooks We Loved in 2013,” TIME LightBox