Saturday, 23 January 2016 12:00
Ben Lam enters the complex world of three historical figures and their wives
by entering their homes with his camera: He explores the homes of Israel’s
national poet Chaim Nachman Bialik and his wife Manya; of the first president
Chaim Weizmann and his wife Vera; and of Israel’s first prime minister
David Ben-Gurion and his wife Pola. Depictions of a bath sewing corner,
polishing kit and kitchen towel rod, guest areas (some humble and some
luxurious), desks and wood-paneled libraries, form only a few of
Lam’s fascinating photographs.
Lam engages in the personal, private and public space of historical figures,
designed for the most part by their wives, enabling him to mark out distinct
foundational moments in the Israeli visual culture. His intimate viewpoint
succeeds in momentarily lifting the veil of representation to enable a somewhat
invasive penetration of private space. Lam boldly draws closer with his digital
camera to various corners and objects, using the natural light suffusing the room.
The subject becomes the object and a portrait of its owner as Lam’s gaze seeks
the traces of life and the cultural field.
Ben Lam, Untitled (From Vera and David Chaim Weizmann`s residence), 2014, inkjet print