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Orly Zailer

Orly Zailer - ANCESTORS. New Portraits

ANCESTORS. New Portraits


The Israeli photographer Orly Zailer recreates photographs from family albums with the descendants of the sitters as accurately as possible. Reconstructions of decades-old photographs with daughters or sons, grandchildren or great-grandchildren who slip into the role of their ancestors for a brief moment. The results are photographs of supposed doppelgängers with an almost magical aura.
We all have experiences with family resemblances. How often do children hear that they are the spitting image of their uncle at the same age, that they look more like their mother than their father, that they have eyes and hands like an aunt… or that, strangely enough, they don’t look like anyone in the family. Orly Zailer’s photographs capture something that touches us only fleetingly in everyday life, brief irritations that we don’t follow up on: the usually amused remark of a relative, an encounter with relatives at a family gathering, a surprised glance at a photo album.Orly Zailer started this series of works in 2012 with photographs from her own family album, with pictures of friends and neighbors. In Europe, the work was previously shown in London. On the continent, her portraits have never been seen.
As part of INN SITU, the artist was invited to continue this work for the first time outside of Israel and to show it extensively at the BTV Stadtforum. After a public call in Tyrol and Vorarlberg to participate in this project, a large number of families began to engage with the theme. From their submissions, the photographer selected images from their photo albums and she got to know the descendants personally in numerous meetings. In an elaborate process over the course of about ten months, locations were sought and found, and items of clothing, furniture, and objects in the historical photographs were meticulously researched. The discourse that took place in the families, the confrontations with one’s own coming into being, the unrepeatable moments in which, for example, a daughter transforms herself for a brief moment into the image of her grandmother, are the invisible social sculpture at work in the exhibition.

Orly Zailer, *1962 in Israel. Lives and works on Kibbutz Maoz Haim, Israel.

2019,franz. Broschur mit Fadenheftung
25.5 × 16.7 cm,118 Pages
∞ Colour images
∞ B/W images
Edition: 800
HG: BTV Stadtforum Innsbruck, FO.KU.S, Hans-Joachim Gögl
Text: Agnieszka Roguski, Hans-Joachim Gögl

Language: English, German

Design: Martin Kerschbaumer, Studio Mut, Thomas Kronbichler
Published in the series: Inn Situ
ISBN: 978-3-902993-75-5


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