Shai Kremer

Fallen Empires

Photographs and introduction by Shai Kremer. Essays by Ariella Azoulay, Meron Benvenisti, Amiram Oren, Talya Sason and Anne Wilkes Tucker.

Shai Kremer’s photographs examine an Israel ignored by media headlines, a land written and re-written by conflict. His beautifully haunting landscapes capture poignant juxtapositions of creation and destruction, man-made and natural, timeless and ephemeral, ancient and contemporary. By visually highlighting Israel’s archeological ruins as reminders of a historical past, Kremer questions how they are used today in discourse around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel's history can be understood through its vast archaeological heritage. Its past exists not only in the written word but also in its land, in the architecture and ruins, in the stones themselves. Each civilization overwrites another, layer upon layer - a sophisticated palimpsest. A single frame can expose the sediment of thousands of years. The recycling of spaces, from one empire to the next, shows how each sought to conquer and rule the land, all with a similar outcome: eventual failure. Shai Kremer shows the vestiges of this complex multi-cultural saga, testimonies unearthed from the past that show a different perspective. It is landscape as a place of amnesia and erasure, for Israel is a strategic site where the past has been buried and history veiled by natural beauty. Kremer's Israel exists beyond the media headlines and tourist hotspots: it is landscape as cultural force, an instrument in the construction of national and social identity. For Kremer, it is a provocation to critical debate about a country where different perspectives existed, and continue to exist, and where new possibilities can be reflected upon.

136 Pages
50 color plates
Dewi Lewis Publishing (1st Edition, Out of print), 2011

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