2017
Pan & The Dream - The Emperor's New Clothes
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Los Angeles Review of Books Interview by Michael Kurcfeld
Film
2016
Professional Photography, Text by Kathrine Anker
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American SuburbX, Text by Brad Feuerhelm
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2015
Christies: Artist Nadav Kander Studio Visit
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Dust Artist Interview, Flowers Gallery , London
Film
2014
The Strait Times, Text by Deepika Shetty
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Dust Interview, Studio International
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Dust Review - haunting and painterly. Text by Sean O'Hagan
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2013
The Guardian, Text by Jonathan Jones
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2012
Nadav Kander Interviewed by William Avedon
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Road to 2012: Aiming High, National Portrait Gallery, London
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2011
The Observer Magazine, Text by Sandy Nairne
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A Conversation with Nadav Kander by Jorg Colberg
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2010
The Guardian, Text by Sean O'Hagan
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Color Magazine, Text by Helmut Werb
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Portfolio Magazine, Text by Simon Baker
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Yangtze, The Long River Interview by Lens Culture
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2009
Hot Shoe, Interview by Bill Kouwenhoven
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Prix Pictet Announcement
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Nadav Kander in collaboration with the Royal College of Art
Film
2008
The Financial Times, Text by Francis Hodgson
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2007
Miedzy Nami Magazine, Interview By Jakub Mielnik
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Pan & The Dream - The Emperor's New Clothes

THE RIVER WITHIN – UNDER THE SKIN
Text by Katrine Pedersen.

“Even within the most beautiful landscape, in the trees, under the leaves, the insects are eating each other;
violence is a part of life,” Francis Bacon’s words frame the art of Nadav Kander accurately. He is known for his unique ability to reach into the raw and the naked in humanity through his depictions of celebrities, state leaders, naked bodies and landscapes.

“I’m interested in the human condition – or rather the edge of it – the peripheral areas of both the individual and the landscape. That which civilisation has violated, its cracks – all that, which lies behind our stereotypes, like an ever-present reminder that we are mere mortals.”

He immerses himself in complex scenarios: “man as a composite creature and his place in the world or rather his enormous and the sometimes insane imprint he has made on the world. I’m not going to photograph the happy-go-lucky – that’s not true for me – there is always something beneath the surface, a painful memory or a tragic current event. What the mind hides is, of course, individual, but we all have pain – it is omnipresent. I see great beauty in the imperfect – there is no happiness without pain or health without disease.”

His series Bodies – portraits of naked, whitewashed, often faceless people – reflects the contemporary uptight body ideals of the Renaissance. A time when Leonardo da Vinci dissected dead bodies in order to accurately reproduce the human body in his drawings. The ideal human body was based on the classical antique style of symmetrical proportions. And cosmetics made of white lead were applied by the aristocracy in their attempts to reach perfection and eternal youth. A toxic beautification method that paradoxically caused premature aging.

“In a time when everything is changing – even the body – and everything is in motion, I felt a need to portray pure, human vulnerability. I’ve always found it quite hard to find a way to photograph naked people. It’s hard to avoid the sexualisation of the onlooker. I’d also like that to be the case for my landscape photos; show the human condition: the emotional, that deepest part of who we are, which is what my photography is about – how we exist on this planet.”

The bleached bodies refer to the powdered faces of the aristocracy in portraits of the Renaissance. At the time, the white colour signified exclusivity, the pure and the pristine, but in its expression, it often appeared grotesque and was associated with death. “We are perishable – we will die one day – we spend a lifetime denying it – and when we, in the arts, are reminded that we are not eternal, we become melancholy, anxious – and those feelings, those inhuman feelings are rarely accommodated”.

Clarity in chaos
In his renowned portraits of some of the world’s most famous people, he is able to see behind the celebrity cliché to that which is almost animalistic – the naked human. He has mentioned that he was inspired by Bacon’s complex disturbing and challenging universe: Francis Bacon impaled the superficial and artificial conformist by zooming in on human madness, violence, accidents or as he himself phrased it: “this unbelievable, purely accidental intelligence which has shattered the planet, and which maybe, one day, will destroy it”. Kander – like Bacon – was drawn to the traumatised humanity of repressed pain that is revealed in hidden glimpses. Francis Bacon once stated: “I am a painter of the twentieth century: during my childhood, I lived through the revolutionary Irish movement, Sinn Féin, and the wars, Hiroshima, Hitler, the death camps and the daily violence that I’ve experienced all my life. And, after all that, they want me to paint bunches of pink flowers…But that’s not my thing”.

Kander’s fascination with Bacon’s clarity may not only be artistic, but may also be a human recognisability. Kander’s family fled the war after the Nazis, first to Israel and later to South Africa in a time that was marked by race riots. There seems to be a confrontational honesty in everything he portrays, whether it be David Beckham, former President Barack Obama or Russia’s radioactive ruined cities used for weapon testing during the Cold War. Or his journey along the Yangtze River, which meanders through the 6500 km Qinghai Province to Shanghai and for which he won the prestigious Prix Pictet.

Nadav sees a clear connection between his portraits and landscape photography. “We are constantly changing and the turmoil that lies in this perpetual movement fascinates me. With a portrait, I can only relate to the person during that time we have together – an ambivalent state of being a fleeting relationship and at the same time an intense presence. It’s no different when photographing a landscape. It is constantly changing. For me, the river is a metaphor of constant change”.

In an interview for It’s Nice That, he said: “The first pictures I ever took and I have them upstairs – I found a dead fly and put it on a newspaper and photographed it so close that the fly takes up most of the frame with just some out-of-focus newsprint. When you think how revealing and naked that is – in a way it doesn’t feel that different from what I am still doing”.