Ely Tahan is a self-taught visual artist living and working in Los Angeles. The scope of his creative output spans drawing and painting, collage and assemblage, photography, installation and more recently sculpture. An evolving discourse sustains his trajectory. A theoretical undercurrent that made him summarize his artistic journey as having traversed three plateaus:
The streetlight series grounds metaphysical concerns in vernacular space and opens the street as a permanent rite of passage. One among so many and yet unique in the way it is anchored in its environment, this humble unit of the urban landscape becomes a trenchant study on the primacy of light and presence in our visual culture.
“Signs in limbo” tackles the codes that regulate commercial exchange. Vacant on-premise signs stripped of their functionality loom as hollow armatures in large and sparse compositions. Forsaken by the stewards of commerce, the advertising vehicle becomes autistic and short-circuits its purpose to refer to nothing but itself.
His window series and its sub-groupings: “Windows of Engagement”, “Some Deadly Virtues” , “Screens of Cognition” are meditations on the window as a connective and disjunctive apparatus. By allowing a plurality of visual elements to clash and intermingle in its panes, he transforms the common window into a polyfocal device.
Since then, he has turned to street photography with "Sidewalk Encounters", a series of seemingly candid but carefully constructed street scenes. Counterpoised by human subjects and their inequities, these monochrome tableaux are also a theatrical mise-en-scene of the streetlight, the empty sign and the window.
Most recently however, alarmed by the proliferation and ubiquity of the photographic image and convinced that the latter is only one aspect of a thing (even though the image nowadays wants to be all of them) he made a comeback to the object, this time with elaborate multi-media constructions.