Beauty’s Nothing

Yancey Richardson Gallery
535 West 22nd Street
New York
NY 10011

The Yancey Richardson Gallery is pleased to present ‘Beauty's Nothing’, the first US exhibition of London–based photographer Nadav Kander. The show is comprised of a selection of large–scale color photographs from two related series – nighttime landscapes and motel room interiors – both taken from mid–continent America from the perspective of an outsider. Fascinated by the prevalence of manufacture sites such as freeway systems, parking lots and motel rooms, Kander creates images of places that are recognizable and familiar, and seem to be anywhere and nowhere at the same time.

In his series of night views, Kander explores the seductive bleak beauty of the American roadside experience: a looming freeway interchange harbouring a neon sign of a star, a lone car illuminated by a halo of light in a desolate parking lot, or a conga line of abandoned shopping carts silhouetted against a blank stucco wall.  Similarly, views of motel room interiors emphasise a sense of aloneness and alienation.  In each image the view is from a bed whose edge looms into frame, a stand-in for the lonely traveller kept company by the endlessly changing characters on the ubiquitous television screen.  Both the roadside views and the motel rooms represent islands of comfort and familiarity in the lonely night of middle America.

Photography, The New Yorker Summer  Fiction Issue, June 18 & 25, 2001
Kander, who was born in Israel and lives in London, infuses this collection of archetypal American scenes – bleak motel interiors and nighttime roads – with an outsider's restless energy. " Texas Star," his elevated–highway panorama in magenta, red, blue, and yellow, exemplifies the sense of transience and the distinctive palette that distinguish his work from Robert Adams's classic black–and–white images of suburban development. While the viewer may wish for Adams's emotional involvement, Kander's color gives his work its own, less weighty identity.

The Art Newspaper International Edition, No.115, June 2001
Nadav Kander's work looks like the photographs Edward Hopper might have taken had he found himself in suburbia at the start of the 21st century. Kander, born in Israel in 1961, raised in South Africa, and based in England since the 80s, is the sort of nomad who has the innate attraction to places that are both anywhere and nowhere. Kander has published extensively in trendy magazines, such as Dazed and Confused, Raygun, and Visionaire. This exhibition at Yancey Richardson Gallery is his first in New York and represents a judicious introduction to some of the recurring motifs in his work.  His large scale colour photographs depict non–descript interiors in which the presence of a television set turned on is often the only unifying element. Another series focuses on the sense of disconnection and ennui that emanates from the landscapes alongside highways and in the parking lots of malls.

Village Voice, Vol. XLVI, No. 22., June 5th, 2001
Nadav Kander takes on American anomie like a native. His unpopulated nighttime landscapes – a gas station, a supermarket, a parking lot, a billboard seen from behind – combine charged stillness and pools of electric light into neo–noir settings where anything could happen. Two snow–covered fields, their sparse stubble disappearing into pitch–blackness, are pure Fargo, and eerily beautiful nonetheless. Just as cool is a series of motel room interiors, nearly all with their TVs on, which suggest a potent blend of Lee Friedlander and Philip Lorca diCorcia: tight, dead–on composition and weirdly debased glamour.