Testimony , Art, and What’s In Between
Eldad Rafaeli, curator of Local Testimony 2019
Over the years the Local Testimony exhibitions have proclaimed their commitment to ethical values side-by-side with aesthetic codes of documentation and investigation.
The contemporary age has brought about a change: the central communications media have ceased to be the principal source of authority mediating reality, and the smartphone has conquered the world. Today the masses are the ones documenting reality, and at the same time the heroes of the story. We live in a world where there is no longer a single central reported truth. “Fake news” is back in the headlines.
These changes have compelled photographers to go back to where they started from and ask: Is there a single reality? A single truth? These questions seem to have led photo-journalists to redefine their role: from agents mediating reality to photo-artists expressing a human, principled, social, aesthetic, political and investigative stance.
Hundreds of photographers submitted thousands of images to the contest. In curating the exhibition I have tried to create a new narrative based on the jury’s selections, moving from documentary to artistic viewpoints and making connections between them; a kind of axis forming a link between the outstanding works by the 71 photographers selected to participate in the exhibition. This narrative reflects a complex reality while at the same time provoking thought about this new field – the domain on the borderline between photo-journalism and art – a domain formed by the interpretation of each photographer and artist participating in the Local Testimony exhibition. The artistic approach expands and refines the discussion about truth and time. The contexts of the different works and their interconnections reflect a level-headed, personal, profound and creative look at Israel in 2019.