Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man
Revealed yet concealed. Shameless yet shameful. Ease with unease. Beauty and destruction. These paradoxes are displayed in all my work; an inquiry into what it feels like to be human. Nadav Kander
Coated in white marble dust and set against the void of the photographer's studio, the subjects of Nadav Kander's BODIES. 6 Women, 1 Man serve as monumental studies of the human condition.
Far from the airbrushed perfection that permeates images of nudity in popular culture, Nadav Kander presents us with honest photographs of the human form. The 'bodies' featured reference the forms of the classical and renaissance past, whilst modernising the genre of the nude to act as a tool for philosophical investigation. Faces turned from the viewer, but bodies offered completely, the forms invite the meditation and self-reflection customarily associated with religious iconography and tomb sculpture.
Kander has cited Elizabethan notions of purity as an influence for his bleached treatment of the auburn haired bodies. The subjects are placed awkwardly, contorted and twisted or bowed reverently. In Audrey with Toes and Wrist Bent (2011) the form reclines, her toes and fingers curled uncomfortably from limbs. Flaws laid bare, the figure is exposed and vulnerable to our gaze. It is this sense of vulnerability, and of humanity stripped of its defences that Kander investigates as a point of beauty.
Wherever I may be, my pictures seek to expose the shadow and vulnerability that exists in all of us, and it is this vulnerability that I find so beautiful. Nadav Kander
BODIES. 6 Women, 1 Man develops the exploration of the human condition established by Kander in earlier work such as Yangtze - The Long River. Whether photographing the consequences of the incomprehensible development in modern-day China, or a white painted nude suspended against the darkness of his studio, his photographs are linked by their ‘compassionate ruthlessness’, and by the constant strive to explore the poeticism of life’s idiosyncrasies.
Nadav Kander (b. 1961) is best known for Yangtze – The Long River, for which he earned the prestigious Prix Pictet award in 2009. Other series include Obama’s People, a 52 portrait series commissioned by New York Times magazine, and his recent portraits for the National Portrait Gallery exhibition Road to 2012. Kander’s work is included in several public collections, and he has exhibited internationally at venues including Musee de L’Elysee, Lausanne, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, Museum of Applied Arts, Cologne, Kennedy’s Museum, Berlin, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, Palais de Tokyo, Paris and Herzilya Museum of Contemporary Art, Israel.