Artist Spotlight: Adi Nes

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com June 07 2014 3:00 AM ET

Adi Nes's work is not unfamiliar, especially his series on Israeli soldiers. Seeing a selection of images representing more than one of his series is a pleasure. Being able to see the connections between them and the strong themes that thread them together makes a bigger statement. The photographs delicately tease out the natural homoerotic elements in very masculine, mostly male societies.

Adi Nes stands out as one of the most important art photographers in Israel. Through 20 years of activity, his artwork has been groundbreaking, while clearly presenting the multilayered complexities of Israeli identity.

Central themes in Adi Nes’s photographs deal with the issues of Israeli identity and masculinity. His works wrestle with social and political questions revolving around gender, the center versus the periphery, Eastern versus Western cultures, ethnic issues, Judaism, local myths, militarism, humanism, and social justice.

For more on his work:
JackShainman.com
Praz-delavallade.com
SommerGallery.com

From the Biblical series (Cain & Abel)

Biblical Stories
This series of 14 photographs is the fruit of four years’ labor between 2004 and 2007. It is inspired by different Bible stories, by canonical creations of great classical artists such as Caravaggio, Rubens, and Rembrandt, and by iconic images from the history of photography and from contemporary photography. What all the chosen biblical images have in common is their loss of hom /place; thus Nes utilizes images of homeless street people who have found themselves on the fringes of society and presents biblical heroes during the low points of their lives. By connecting identityless homeless with the mythical foundations of biblical stories, Nes juxtaposes contemporary Israeli reality with the history and mythos of the Chosen People.

From the Biblical series (David & Jonathan)

From the Boys series

Boys
This series comprised of 10 photographs, which was created during 2000, focuses on the image of boys while being based on Greek mythology. Nes staged each shot anew with landscapes from his childhood in the development town of Kiryat Gat. In the body of this work Nes looks at how identity and intimate masculine relationships are woven together across the Israeli society. The color prints focus on an age group rarely dealt with in Israeli art: adolescents struggling with their identity. The works reverberate with Nes’s own childhood memories where he grew up and where his identity as a man and as an artist crystallized.

From the Boys series

From the Boys series

From the Boys series

From the Boys series

From the Boys series

From the Prisoners series

Prisoners
The Prisoners series of 12 photographs was produced in 2003 for the fashion magazine Vogue Hommes International. It was published in that year's September issue, which was dedicated to the Middle East during the anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Nes’s photographs were spread over an impressive 10 pages, thus assuring his membership among a group of international photographers such as Cindy Sherman, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Annie Leibovitz, Nan Goldin, and others who have also created works for fashion magazines.

From the Prisoners series

From the Prisoners series

From the Soldiers series

Soldiers
A series of 22 photographs  produced between 1994 and 2000, and divided into two parts. Many of the prints can be found in some of the most prestigious museums and private art collections in the world.

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series (The Last Supper)

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Soldiers series

From the Village series

The Village
The Village has been in the process of being created since 2007.

From the Village series

From the Village series

From the Village series