Medium:In-situ digital photography, bottle of absinthe
Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White 310 gsm paper with Ultrachrome K3 archival ink
Editions of 5
Dimensions: 36”w x 24”h
SHOTS: ABSINTHE PHOTOGRAPHY
Ahron Weiner first met the green fairy (the green devil, demon, scourge) in a postcommunist Prague catacomb. Stooled at the bar, he was captivated by the ritual: shot glass of absinthe, demitasse spoon of sugar, fire, light, stir, swig. His seeing was changed: by the way the shots reflected the flame.
Life itself greened on him: the color of (culture-)envy, (history-)jealousy, and the money that, at the time, most interested the East.
Hungover next morning, Ahron created a filter from bottles of absinthe, and set out, round the world, to manifest his vision – capturing warped, bent, distorted images of subjects so famous that intoxication is their normalcy.
Ahron's photographs, then, are photos of process: conscientiously sloppy, dandy, maudit, and mad. An American traveler's yearning for a fin de something denied. One of them reminds me of the time I swam the Moldau with open eyes.
Blue Mosque - Istanbul, TR
Chichen Itza - Yucatán, MX
Colosseum – Rome, IT
Leaning Tower of Pisa & Duomo - Pisa, IT
St. Mary's Cathedral – Krakow, PL
Milan Cathedral – Milan, IT
Siena Cathedral – Siena, IT
London Bridge – London, UK
House of Parliment – Budapest, HU
Big Ben & Parliment - London, UK
Old Town Square – Prague, CZ
St. Basil's Cathedral – Moscow, RU
St. Michaels Cathedral – Kiev, UKR
St. Paul's Cathedral - London, UK
Trafalgar Square - London, UK
Stonehenge - Wiltshire, UK
Temple of Heaven – Beijing, CH
Tienamien Square - Beijing, CH
Wailing Wall – Jerusalem, IS
Birkenau Gates - Osweciem, PL
Memorial Wall - Gallery
STATEMENT OF WORK
After the War, after the Holocaust, Europe had to rebuild. At times the most convenient construction material was Jewish tombstones. The Nazis used stones taken from desecrated Jewish cemeteries to erect walls and lay pavements - they even mortared them into chimneys - joining, in an efficiency typical for Nazism, a practical purpose to a ruthless humiliation. Tellingly however, in Krakow, Poland, the surviving Jewish community itself erected a cemetery wall out of tombstone fragments - inlaid shards of names, mosaicked chips inscribed with dates - as a tribute to those whose graves had been lost or destroyed. In MEMORIAL WALL I've made a monument of my own, constellating contemporary images of Jewish sites from my travels across ten countries and over two hundred cities and towns across Eastern Europe. Though these images seek to entomb Jewish Europe, let your engagement with them be proof that Jewish life lives on.
Ahron D. Weiner
MEMORIAL WALL INTRODUCTION by Maurice Sendak
My own work developed from the negatives of old photographs. It was sheer luck, pure and simple, that allowed me to be born in the United States, the son of survivors. And now I’m the last Sendak. All the other Sendaks exist in my memories, and in photographs; memories and photographs are today often synonymous terms.
Ahron Weiner, camera in hand, has returned to a different Europe, a detail in the large panorama shot of the last century. And not only Europe; Ahron has traveled, widely, in a detail of a detail, in Central and Eastern Europe, a stretch of life bounded by Thereinsenstadt in the West and Majdanek and Sobibor in the East: concentration camps, the horrific last images preserved in the minds of many of the dead.
My personal relationship with Ahron is connected to the former camp, Thereinsenstadt, Terezín in Czech. I created a book based on Brundibar, Hans Krasa’s children’s opera, performed in the waning days of the concentration camp, the last days of art, the purgatory before Auschwitz. Unable to make the trip there myself, I asked Ahron to take photographs of the camp, images on which to base my illustrations. He generously provided, responded with sensitive pictures of a terrible place, provided a reality—if there is one—for my fantasies. He allowed me, pencil in hand at my desk, to see.
But while my book lives in the past, Ahron—much younger than I—captured a vision that is very much of the present: This is what these synagogues, these former ghettoes, these concentration camps, these cemeteries look like now. But this is more than tourism. This is the ritual of mourning, a shiva postponed for most of world Jewry by circumstances of birth and by the currents of politics.
So thank you Ahron, for your dedication and your memory. You have lit my past.
MEMORIAL WALL images are custom-printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Bright White 310 gsm paper using an Epson Stylus Pro 7800 with Ultrachrome K3 archival ink.
Images are available for purchase individually, or as custom site-specific installations. For pricing, contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org
AFTER aims to do to photography what photography did to painting early on: point it to better replicate the world - emotionally. Except here, the world is the World of Art, the world of painting in particular. Utilizing an array of techniques in-situ, in-camera - meaning, aside from minor color correction, none of these images have been doctored on the computer - I have attempted to emulate the styles of various painters both classic and contemporary. Previous projects by other photographers have focused on echoing composition, but as the ideal here is, above all, a recapitulation of style in another medium, what interests me is also painterly light, along with texture and color. Giving new technological life to the works of El Greco and Monet, Rothko and Lichtenstein, Bacon and O'Keefe, Ensor and Rauschenberg, I hope to reinvent the camera's use not as unreliable archivist but as something closer to "brush." In completing this series I feel as if I have turned photography back on itself: By using the medium to create images that mimic, and equal, the ways that painters now grapple with the expression of their visions in an entirely photographed, photographable world.
Next Year In Uman: A Journey to the Ukraine - Gallery
Every year, an increasing number of Jews from every walk of life, from all over the world, converge in Uman, a small, unremarkable city in the Central Ukraine. They spend “Rosh Hashana” (the Jewish New Year) united in meditation and prayer, at the tomb of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov – a spiritual seer of the 17th century who is revered to this day as the one and only leader of the Breslov Chassidic movement. His teachings have resonated over time, and created a ripple effect that seems to grow stronger with each passing year. In 1991 (just following Perestroika), only 250 devout Breslov adherents traveled to Uman. In 2009, over 25,000 made the trip.
For the past six years, I have joined this pilgrimage – camera in hand – to document this uniquely moving and increasingly spectacular event. The festival-like atmosphere is part Woodstock and part Mount Sinai: with dancing, singing, eating, drinking and a spirit of communal prayer.
This photography project documents the wonders to be experienced in Uman. Images range from men at prayer to children at play, from quiet moments of individual introspection to massive throngs of men worshipping in the streets.
There is an eerie dissonance in this mass of Jews returning to pray in Ukraine 65 years after the devastation of the Holocaust. The juxtaposition of these subjects captured in sepia tones, praying in a forlorn Ukrainian town, indeed hearken back to the lost era of the shtetl, and echo the images captured by Roman Vishniak in his journeys across pre-war Europe.
This project ran as a solo museum show at the Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art from April - August 2011.
New York in Light & Shadow - Gallery
New York in Light & Shadow is an ongoing exploration of the Five Boroughs; light and shadow, positive and negative space, landmark structures and industrial decay. This series was commissioned by Time Warner Inc. Sixty of these images are on permanent display in their offices in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.