Found In The Rubble
Thu, 03/07/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

It  lit Azoulay, a photographer and montage-artist based in south Tel Aviv, will have her second exhibit with Chelsea’s Andrea Meislin Gallery. In “Room#8,” Azoulay presents invented environments based on her documentary photographic studies of buildings scheduled to be torn down. The title work, “Room#8,” a four-part photographic installation owned by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, will be hung on a diagonal wall dissecting the gallery.

Calling herself an archeologist, remodeler, archivist and composer, Azoulay begins by surveying about-to-be-demolished buildings around Israel, within Tel Aviv in particular, familiarizing herself with their structures and spaces. “I choose the sites by walking around the city, and sometimes I am invited to a specific site. I could say that I find myself haunted by places, and I try to haunt them back,” Azoulay wrote in an e-mail to The Jewish Week.

Once a structure has been torn down, Azoulay returns to its location where she collects objects of interest buried within the rubble. She then assembles these bits and pieces and photographs them in her studio. The last step of Azoulay’s laborious process is the digital compilation of these pictures, generating new, imaginary spaces. These images remind Azoulay of Wunderkammers, cabinets of curiosities, bending the line between fictional and documented spaces.

According to the artist, these pieces take approximately three to four months to produce, allowing her to make about eight new works per year. Most of the buildings about to be destroyed were constructed inexpensively during periods of austerity. As Azoulay sees it: “Tel Aviv has gone through architectural changes mainly in the last 20 years, and mainly in the more central and rich areas. So I would say that some of ‘my walls’ reflect remnants of an ‘old’ Tel Aviv.”

Ilit Azoulay’s “Room#8” opens March 7 and runs through April 13 at the Andrea Meislin Gallery, 534 W. 24th St. For more information, go to andreameislin.com.