ART TALK with Israeli Photographer and Gallery Owner Rafael Fuchs
My name: Rafael Fuchs
Born: Tel Aviv, Israel, and moved to the USA in the mid 80’s
Lives: Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York
What was your first experience with art?
My first experience with art…probably being a baby or a toddler, without even comprehending what it is. But I do remember the first time when I realized the the importance of art, or the prominence of art, at least through the eyes of an artist. In this case it was Picasso. When I studied photography in Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem one of my favorite classes was an art history class (conducted by the late Professor Moti Omer, who became the director of The Tel Aviv Museum afterwards). I was fascinated by the bold interpretation of Picasso of the masterpiece “Las Meninas” by Velazquez. especially the scale enlargement of the artist figure on the canvas.
At the time I was obsessed with shooting self portraits…at home, in a studio, and even in a war zone (Lebanon) while I had to serve my obligatory duty to the Israeli army (a body of works that got me several awards). I would say that Picasso’s work gave me a sort of comfort and affirmation to continue working as an artist.
What or who inspires your work?
Man Ray, Robert Frank, Duane Michaels, Lucas Samaras, Helmut Newton, Sandy Skoglund, Garry Winogrand, Harry Callahan, Akira Kurosawa, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, David Lynch, David Salle, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi.
What is there too much of?
What there is too much of is the social media phenomenon with its different platforms. All the different ways of communicating, all the immediacy of informing others whats on one’s plate (literally) or how one’s pet is twirling their tails, is just so unnecessary. I’d love it if there would be a majestic power that would limit each person with their options of tweets, postings and other ways of communicating. Of course, one can just shut off his/hers receptive tools to be less exposed to all the cats and food news feeds.
What are you obsessed with?
I’ve been obsessed lately with non-narrative photographs….with abstract photographs….with photographic images that were created without a camera , or photographs that were combined with other elements/materials in the final presentation.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am working on expanding my visual vocabulary from 2D photographic prints to also sculptural expressions. I started about 3 years ago experimenting with digital photomontages (I showed some in March, in a show titled “Landlords”) and I am taking those ideas from a 2D presentation to a 3D surface as well as audio-visual presentation.
I am also finishing editing my long time project (10 years) of photographing my neighborhood, Bushwick, and will be ready to present it to potential publishers by the end of the Summer.
If you could be any person, place or thing?
I would pick a few options, but just for a short time (hours,days, weeks) just to have an understanding and the experience of others…but I would not commit to change completely. Who knows what kind of demons or conflicts other people carry? I would be someone else just to have an immediate access to where they can go, but then I’d switch back to myself, utilizing that experience or knowledge.