I met Rubi in Santa Fe at Review Santa Fe many years ago, and I saw him again this year in Portland. His work is clever, humorous and creative. Home Sweet Home is almost a test. It takes scenes you think you have seen a million times and twists them. Take a closer look, things aren’t always as they seem.
Home Sweet Home
My photographs deal with domestic scenes captured in straightforward images. The scenes can be divided in to two main categories: inanimate objects and human scenarios. Both categories are characterized by mystery, vagueness and absurdity. I create a twist in familiar sights and build new contexts, thus endowing the scene with new meaning. Mundane objects and domestic spaces are transformed into something strange and surprising. Like in surreal paintings, a new and impossible reality is created.
At times, my photographs can be seen as an illusion of the Theatre of the Absurd, an illustration which takes place in the house. My images do not contain a clear-cut story or plot. The characters are inscrutable to the viewers and difficult to identify; their relationship with the world around them is senseless and they fail to communicate. Rationality is substituted by a twisted and exaggerated worldview. I employ multiplicity of objects, allowing the objects to grow stronger and take over reality; they occupy and control the space. In most of the photographs, the focus is on the objects, as such, they become the center of power, emphasizing loneliness and emptiness.
The restlessness characterizing my work is connected to Freud’s concept of the Uncanny, which locates the origins of horror in the homely and familiar. The scenes depicted in the photographs emphasize what usually remains hidden: the repressed, which cannot be described. The anxiety these scenes arouse undermines the peacefulness and security usually associated with home.
I was born in Israel in 1974. My parents emigrated from Russia a few years before I was born. I currently live and work in Tel-Aviv. I received an M.F.A. from the Bezalel Academy of Art in 2006, and graduated with a B.F.A from the Bezalel Academy of Art in 2001.
The themes and imagery that interest me have changed along the years. I began my career as a photographer focusing on street photography and urban landscapes, but as time went by I became infatuated with manipulating reality. My later work deals domestic scenes that contain a twist in familiar sights, thus endowing them with new contexts and meaning. I attempt to transform mundane objects and domestic spaces into strange and absurd scenarios.
I had solo shows in Gallery 39, Tel Aviv (2011), Janko Dad Museum of Art (2011), Artists’ House, Tel Aviv (2008), and in D&A Gallery, Tel Aviv (2007). My work has been shown internationally in various galleries and museums in London, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Houston, and Tokyo.
I received grants for my project “Home Sweet Home” from Center Santa Fe, Kaunas Photo Star, Japan media arts festival and the Morton Mandel fund. My work has been acquired by many public institutions such as the Houston museum of Modern Art, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Leumi Bank and more, and by private collections in Israel and abroad.
For more about Rubi’s work, please log onto his website.