Barry Frydlender: The Fourth Dimension

by Donald Goddard


New York Art World ® -  Reviews Index - Art Reviews - Magazine - Themes - Previous Review - Next Review
Art Review - NewYorkArtWorld ®

The pictures fill up with people and things, parts of buildings and landscapes, city streets and various values of light, like gestured or measured collations of color in paintings. They represent the immanence of particular places over time in Israel and Egypt, where historical immanence is perhaps more keenly felt than anywhere else. There is, however, nothing ancient in any of these scenes, except for the land itself, and a Palestinian cemetery in one of them. Most of the people are young and ebullient, relaxing on the beach, out on Friday night, fooling around in line to visit the war museum, playing in a circle with a soccer ball. A few are older, in an East Jerusalem café, at a peace demonstration.


The Flood
, 2003.
50" x 94 1/2"


Frydlender is somewhere between the younger and the older, measuring the lengths and vitality of their lives. From his window he sees and photographs boisterous children, in The Flood, as they wait on the street to visit the war museum. It is there also, at a slightly different angle, that Raid occurs; several uniformed Israeli police, their faces blurred deliberately by the photographer to prevent their identification, arrive to investigate the report of a bomb.

The pictures are full of detail. It is possible to tell what everyone is doing, or even feeling or thinking, and to know what is going on in one part of the scene that couldn't possibly be known by people in other parts of the scene. Because they are digitally composed of many individual frames shot at different times, the scenes appear to be complete stories in which the details of an event that has taken place over time are included in a single depicted space, from a single point of view, something like a Renaissance painting of a processional scene. The integrity of the space is not compromised, but it can encompass what the photographer has experienced.

Raid
, 2004.
50" x 58 1/2"

In this sense, Frydlender's pictures are extrapolations from the photographer's normal practice of constantly reifying the world by shooting over and over again in salient structures (which now become part of a larger structure, or vision). The fourth dimension of the title is time, I suppose, photography having always been associated with a single moment in which something (or all) is revealed.


Salame, 2000.
11 3/4" x 82 1/2"

With one exception (Dream Sinai, a circle within a square that is also the only photo without people), the scenes are horizontal, some extremely so. In Salame, the long, narrow format literally suggests a story, a line of text reading from right to left, as though in Hebrew or Arabic. A car at the center, from which the driver looks toward us, has moved halfway, paralleling our own vision, from the cross-street on the right to the one on the left. Everything takes place in front of us, parenthesized by the two end streets lunging into depth. This is what is happening, contained within the interlocking structures of cars, houses, streets, with the implication that paths to other places, at the ends of this scene, will lead to another set of circumstances, another reality nonetheless related to this one.

That is the tension in all Frydlender's pictures. They are knitted together like fabrics--human movements, gestures, and intentions woven into each other and into extraordinarily complex structures of verticals and diagonals within the generally horizontal overall shapes. The chains of existence seem almost unbreakable. But, of course, they are composed of elements that are in a constant state of flux and happen to come together in certain ways. And the artist extends that process by forming his own patterns out of digital segments. The scene of young bathers on a Sinai beach in Egypt (Sinai, Smoking) has all these qualities, bridging time and space in the figures of people walking and reclining. It must be near the places where 35 people were killed in explosions in early October.



Smoking, Sinai, 2004.
50" x 90 1/2"

These are powerful yet very fragile realities, like the land in which they are made, as part of the world in which we live. Each work is like an explosion in which the fragments always re-coalesce, even those like Café Bialik and Café Bialik After, where a real explosion did occur. Still, in Jaffa/Bat Yam there is the side where Jewish settlers live, and the side of the Palestinian cemetery against the Mediterranean Sea, and the diagonal divide between them, along which a young girl seems to dance with her shadow toward a rectangular blank in the scene, left there by Frydlender because the building from which he would have shot a new fragment was no longer there when he revisited the site.



Jaffa/Bat Yam
, 2004.
44 x 107 1/2"

These are powerful yet very fragile realities, like the land in which they are made, as part of the world in which we live. Each work is like an explosion in which the fragments always re-coalesce, even those like Café Bialik and Café Bialik After, where a real explosion did occur. Still, in Jaffa/Bat Yam there is the side where Jewish settlers live, and the side of the Palestinian cemetery against the Mediterranean Sea, and the diagonal divide between them, along which a young girl seems to dance with her shadow toward a rectangular blank in the scene, left there by Frydlender because the building from which he would have shot a new fragment was no longer there when he revisited the site.

Donald Goddard © 2004


The exhibition was on view at Andrea Meislin Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001.

Magazine - Art Reviews Listings - Next Review

Art Review - NYArtWorld.com - NYAW.com. All artwork is copyright of the respective owner or artist. All other material Copyright 2014 New York Art World ®. All Rights Reserved.

New York Art World ® - Back to Top