HANNA SAHAR | NIGHTWATCH

 

Hanna Sahar has been photographing nocturnal landscapes lately. Her gaze draws away from the nighttime views of urban figures depicted in her previous works to the city's outskirts, where parks and sand dunes extend. The sights are depicted in such places as Tel Aviv and Kiryat Tivon, yet their geographical origin is not readily identified in the photographs. Their nocturnal depiction strips them of their identity, distances them from their locale, subjecting them to a process of displacement. Depriving these sites of their identifying features, Sahar's lens/gaze offers them the appearance of a nonexistent, near-utopian place. Momentarily they appear somewhat European, possibly nocturnal visions extracted from the repertoire of pastoral and romantic painting.

 

In order to truly attest to these embodiments of the night, Sahar opens the camera lens, which she positions opposite these marginal cityscapes, for a long, slow exposure. The reception process of the optical device is suspended, like an eye wishing that its action will become an independent duration. During this slow, suspended exposure of the camera lens, Sahar moves the "zoom" several times back and forth, consequently generating several duplications (of varying dimensions and at slightly varying angles) of the same images in the photograph. Thus, each of her photographs is akin to a cinematic sequence that has been assembled into a single frame, where the sequence of image duplications often simulates the landscape's different planes: its horizon, its imaginary depth, the strange concaved orifices in it, and its affinity to pivotal junctions in the history of painting.

 

Sarit Shapira
July 2009