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

The naked and the dead. 
Nudity never loses its power to shock, and Nadav Kander’s latest images,are no exception, says Jonathan Jones. He talks to the photographer about sex, death and airbrushing.

The nude never gets boring. Be as sophisticated as you like. Tire of painting, yawn at video art. A naked body can still get you going – with shock, delight, disgust or desire. What do you feel about these pale, unclothed people? There are so many ways to see the nude, yet all nudes are the same. They are simply us, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood. There is nothing more human than the human body, no moment when we are more vulnerable than when we’ve got our kit off – a truth the photographer Nadav Kander makes eerily visible in his new exhibition Bodies: 6 Women, 1 Man.

Here are models with their flesh powdered white, contorted into poses that look alternately deathly, or violent, or broken, or ill. These strange pictures render their naked models at once flawed and massively compelling. None of them is an airbrushed icon of bland perfection. The white, dry look Kander has plastered on their skin literally distances them from glossy nude shots. Meanwhile, their natural proportions tend to be bigger – or, in the man’s case, skinnier – than either the fashion industry or soft porn would allow. These are real people, white as statues, surrounded by the dark.

In 2009, Kander, who was born in Israel, grew up in South Africa and lives in London, won the Prix Pictet for photography of social and environmental importance. He got the award for his series of pictures Yangtze: The Long River, a sustained visual exploration of modern China. At first sight it seems a big leap from the Yangtze to the nude, from getting a prize for global responsibility to, well, looking at naked women (and one man). But Kander sees no contradiction: “All of my work deals with the human condition – how it feels to be human,” he says. Nothing defines the human condition more absolutely than our physical being, from birth to death. “I like to show the truth. I like to show things that are paradoxical. In these pictures, it’s clear there is no beauty without imperfection.”

It’s that sense of paradox that makes the new pictures so provocative and intriguing. It’s easy, as a reaction against the conventional beauty of nudes in photography, painting and sculpture, to make everyone look grotesque, ugly, banal. Kander has done something a lot more original. His pictures are beguiling and beautiful: they possess a classical formal grace. The freezing of flesh tones into a spooky white inevitably echoes marble statuary, and Kander has posed his models after figures in Renaissance and baroque art. Yet statues can look deathly, and in getting people to imitate them, he creates a necrophile allure.

This is most shocking in his picture of a woman with her face almost hidden, her arm stretched beyond it, a mouse crawling on her chalk-white hip. How can she let it? For an awful moment I thought maybe she was dead. In art as in life, animals crawling on a body suggest just that. Kander says it’s posed after Stefano Maderno’s baroque statue of St Cecilia in Rome – a white marble image, carved in 1600, of a beautiful corpse – but insists his theme is purity, not death. We’ve got the nude all wrong, he says. It’s had a “rough ride” in modern photography because it is associated with exploitation. But it ain’t necessarily about sex at all. “The history of art is full of the nude. Every church is filled with nudity. There are religious connotations to the nude... It’s always the angels who are nude.”

I get it now: I see how the man in his pictures has the skinny look of a semi-nude angel who appears in Caravaggio’s Rest On The Flight To Egypt. These are saintly nudes, visionary nudes. Kander got the idea of whitening their bodies from the Renaissance. “People used to bleach their skin because white was considered pure and holy.” Because they saw something profound in nudity – a quality of revelation, a spiritual as well as carnal power – they did not limit it to eye-candy. “In those days, people were much more ready to confront imperfection. Today, imperfection is brushed away.” Even death does have to be included in a true art of the nude, he says. “Death is a part of our dark side, part of the challenge of life.”

Kander’s Bodies subvert the airbrush age. They are naked ghosts from the baroque period, massive, generous, daring. Instead of a glib stereotype of perfection, he reveals bodies that are landscapes, on whose frozen limbs the mind wanders like a mouse in a silent church full of statues.