Past Exhibitions

Ami Wallach/Photographs

Shir Meller-Yamaguchi

Ami Wallach / DisAppearance
Ami Wallach

Ami Wallach’s photographs have never left the ground of his kibbutz, Mishmar HaEmek.
It is precisely in the mundane sights he encounters that he discovers a whole world. His immediate surroundings contain all the possibilities and challenges he requires as a photographer.
The photographic medium enables Wallach to move from testimony and representation of reality at a given moment, to personal artistic expression beyond a specific time and place. Throughout his career he has generally opted for metaphorical expression, dissociating the photographed images from their concrete function and using them to create a different aesthetic array through which he contemplates the new meanings they suggest.
The current series began with close observation of the coffee residue left in squeezed paper cups tossed into the bin in the kibbutz factory where he works. The close-ups accentuate the drippings and the dissolution of hues, one into the other. They resemble a desert landscape—mountains and valleys, animals and plants. It is a geology of the disposable. The image gradually dissolves before our eyes, open to constant permutation.

In the current series, Wallach shifts amidst manifestations of contingency, responding with a meticulous choice of frame. Extracting the image from its context enables the viewer to suspend his gaze and become a part of the occurrence. It is close-up photography which documents the traces of the process. Wallach photographs with great sensitivity and sharpness, allowing attention to detail. The real subject seems to be the engagement with dissolution and melting through which he observes reality’s illusive nature. He addresses the tension between existence and nonexistence, formation and disappearance, delicately and succinctly. Everything is open. Wallach generates a chance encounter between stains which fuse with one another to momentarily form a comprehensible image, and then dissolve once more.
The mystery of the image increases when the disposable paper cup gives way to the interplay of transparency and reflection introduced by a glass. Here, too, Wallach eliminates the external shape of the cup, making for multi-layered observation which ranges between the lace-like texture of the coffee, and the shadows and glare seen through it. It is a new, surprising world in which near and far, sharp and obscure, are fused together.
In the concluding photographs in the series Wallach returns from his travels in other realms to the image of the house from the coffee cup. The house emerges as a silhouette, a hovering tent, or a faded black-and-white drawing of shacks ostensibly viewed through a sand storm. Is this a real house or a mirage, a figment of the imagination? The vivid coloration of this cluster of photographs, red for the most part, invokes a house on fire, enhancing the sense of anxiety and threat hovering above the notion of home. The crumbling texture characterizing the entire series refers to kibbutz life and the Israeli reality in which Wallach lives metaphorically, articulating his feelings in view of the dissolving dream.

Shir Meller-Yamaguchi