ANCESTORS. New Portraits

Exhibition FO.KU.S
03.04.2019 to 13.07.2019
Photo exhibition
ANCESTORS. New portraits are all about family, memory, tradition, succession and their own roots.

ANCESTORS. New Portraits

Exhibition FO.KU.S
03.04.2019 to 13.07.2019
Photo exhibition
ANCESTORS. New portraits are all about family, memory, tradition, succession and their own roots.

Moments Re-captured

The Israeli photographer Orly Zailer recreates photographs from family albums by photographing descendants of family members with as much precision as possible. She reconstructs decades-old photographs by photographing daughters, sons, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, who for a brief moment slip into the role of their forebears, thereby producing images of alleged doppelgängers who possess an almost magical charisma.

We are all familiar with the question of family resemblance: so often, children are informed of a striking facial resemblance with their uncle when he was their age, or with family members on their mother’s rather than their father’s side, or are told have their aunt’s eyes, or hands…or, surprisingly, that they do not resemble anyone in the family at all. Orly Zailer’s photographs seize upon things which in daily life cause us only fleeting concern, minor irritations which we do not pursue any further: the somewhat amused remark of a friend, an encounter with a relative at a family gathering, the feeling of surprise upon glancing at a photo album…

The vague suddenly becomes the obvious. Suspicions become revelations, on the basis of compelling evidence of the type which only photography can provide. This series of works by Orly Zailer opens up a complex discourse concerning identity and memory, using the viewer’s surprise upon seeing the pairs of photos to ask questions that naturally arise about nature and culture, and the individual and society.

New Portraits in Tyrol and Vorarlberg

Orly Zailer began the series of works in 2012, with photographs from her own family album and images of friends and neighbours. The works have been exhibited in London, but until now not in continental Europe. For INN SITU, we invited her to continue the project on this occasion outside Israel for the first time, in preparation for a full-scale exhibition at BTV Stadtforum.

For the project, following an open call for participants in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, numerous families began taking an interest. Zailer selected suitable album photos from among those received, and arranged meetings with the descendants to get to know them personally. Scouting out suitable shooting locations and conducting painstaking research into clothing, furniture and other objects in the historic photos took around ten months.

The resulting discourse within families, their engagement with their own past and some unique moments (such as when a young woman for a brief moment transformed herself into an image of her grandmother) have created an invisible social sculpture which exerts influence on the exhibition.

For the INN SITU project twenty new works involving Tyrol and Vorarlberg residents were created.

Orly Zailer

(born 1982, Israel) studied photography at Goldsmiths College (University of London) and the NB Haifa School of Design. Exhibitions in London, Tel Aviv, Toronto and Bogotá. Internationally acclaimed series of works ‘The Time Elapsed Between Two Frames’. In the German-speaking world she has appeared on television on ARTE and 3sat, and her portrait work has been the subject of articles in Der Spiegel and Die Welt. She lives and works in Israel.

Solo Exhibitions:

  • Orly Zailer, AHNEN. Neue Porträts: BTV Stadtforum, FO.KU.S | Innsbruck | 2019
  • On Yoske's Chair: Solo Exhibition in Ha'Kibbutz Israeli Art Gallery | Tel Aviv | 2015

Group Exhibitions and Festivals:

  • Movement - Urban Photographers: Bogotá Arte Contemporáneo | Bogotá | 2015
  • Regeneration: Doinel Gallery | London | 2014
  • Movement - Association of Urban Photographers: Silverprint Gallery | London | 2014
  • Regenerating Capital: Roca Gallery | London | 2014
  • Toronto Urban Photography Festival: 2nd place winner | Toronto | 2014
  • Crossing Lines: The Greenwich Gallery | London | 2013
  • Surface of Self: Photofusion Gallery | London | 2013
  • Urban Photography Festival: London | 2013
  • Third Effect group Exhibition: Foto8 Gallery | London | 2012
  • Home - A Collaborative Exhibition: Linear House | London | 2012
  • Photomonth: East London Photography Festival | 2012
  • Urban Photography Festival: London | 2012
  • Wizo Academy Graduation Exhibition: Haifa | 2008

The photographer wishes to thank Silvia Martin, Elisabeth Bittenauer, and Anja Strumpf for their help with the organizing of photo shoots in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, and the following companies for lending equipment as well as providing support and locations: