From Stone to Sea, Photographs 1970-2015
Curator: Guy Raz
25 Feb — 22 April, 2017
Aliza Auerbach (1940–2016) came from Haifa’s waves, and in the late 1960s began photographing the stones, landscapes, people, and beggars of Jerusalem. Later on, she took portraits for the local and international press. Ideologically, she is associated with the straight-humanistic documentary photography and its 1950s–1960s influences inIsrael, in the spirit of the exhibition “The Family of Man” (1955), and the photographic notion of the “decisive moment.” In the 1990s, in the spirit of humanistic photography, Auerbach committed herself to the documentation of the place and the changing times via magnum opuses, henceforth focusing on long-term projects.
In her retrospective exhibition staged in the fall of 2016 at Mishkan Museumof Art, Ein Harod, her works were collected in four trilogies, which constitute the central axis for contemplating her photographic world: Portrait of a People, Motherhood, Landscape, and Letters.
Auerbach’s photographs followed the trajectory of Israeli culture and art for approximately fifty years. With their unique direct style, they shed light on key landmarks in the local private and collective memory: from birth to old age, from femininity to maternity, from pioneers through newcomers to Holocaust survivors, from national to personal landscape. All these are documented under the blazing Mediterranean light, at the intersection of time and place, secular and holy.
Unlike the comprehensive chronological exhibition at EinHarod, the show at the Artists’ House, Jerusalem—the city in which Auerbach lived and worked—is modest in nature, unfolding photographs from different series, which together offer a more poetic and less didactic view of her oeuvre. This intimate “closing” exhibition commences with the wrinkles of the aged body and the newborn body, and concludes with the soft folds of ripples in the sea. Between these, it documents the people and the stones, recounting a threefold journey into the life of a photographer, apeople, and a land.
It is in these and other inspirational contexts thatthe featured photographs should be viewed, as they narrate the Israeli story with a sensitive, humane eye. Auerbach began taking photographs inJerusalem, and stopped taking them in her birthplace,Haifa. These cities form the black demarcation of Auerbach’s full frame of man and landscape. The exhibition draws a metaphoric line between the major focal points in Auerbach’s work, which combines documentation and love, life, stones and sea.