In her “Homeland” project, Nurit Yarden seeks to examine the penetration of visual, social, and political signs into the Israeli public sphere. She invents a lexicon of sorts, yet it is not a standard one arranged alphabetically, in a seemingly objective manner, according to key terms, seeking to codify and determine that worth recording. In her “lexicon,” Yarden asks how to face the challenge of the fragile reality of a fragmentary present, one in constant flux, in a way that avoids the stifling trap of familiar lexical contexts. This “lexicon” offers a structure whose definitions do not sit comfortably within key terms and a central, organizing and guiding logic; one that does not neuter the antagonistic element. It is a wandering journey, journalistic and political at once.
Yarden’s photography does not eschew an aesthetic of pictorial copiousness and complex visual options, associations and contexts that derive from the field of fine arts. The pictorial “high art” is embedded in the guise of the “low” snapshot genre, creating a unique hybrid that offers numerous transgressions and possibilities for visual, social, cultural, and political deviations. For example, a landscape photograph constructed according to the classical triangular composition. In it appears a wide and winding road in what seems to be a semi-urban area, with a cement wall on the right. Apart from the apparent neglect, traces in the landscape attest to some occurrence. Wondrously, at the center of the composition lies a large cleaver and, to its left, blocking the road, a row of decapitated cauliflowers. The title reads Kalandia Checkpoint 2012.
Nurit Yarden’s “Homeland” is an absurd lexicon that serves as a structure containing multiple contradictions, both as a reality image reflection and as a work practice that attends to apparatuses of seeing, habit, and denial. Through the lexicon, contrasting vectors are revealed within the framework of her work that charge her photographs with mystery, with dialectical overlaps between the familiar and the strange, with stimulation, malarkey, and ambiguous charm. This crafty form of conceptualization in the current project emphasizes the reflective, conceptual, and critical dimension of her entire oeuvre.
Nurit Yarden locates photography’s exploitive ways and its innate potential to “wander” at the fringes of private and social silence, and thus to reveal the violence and its strategies of concealment, denial, and disregard that result in compliant collaboration: “The lack of hierarchy in my ‘lexicon’ also mirrors the parallel and impossible existence of the private everyday, the comfortable one that I, and a large part of this country’s citizens, experience and, in contrast, the oppression and injustice that can clearly be seen by anyone willing to look.”