Inner Condition, Portraits & Obama's People

11 February – 10 April 2011

Centro Andaluz de la Fotografia
c/ Pintor Diaz Molina,
No 9, 04002 Almeria

Throughout art history, the naked body has provided artists with compelling subject matter. From the Classical and Renaissance artists Michelangelo, Caravaggio and Botticelli to masters like Goya, and Rubens some of the best works in museums worldwide depict the naked human figure. However, a few prominent artists like Rembrandt, Lucian Freud and the contemporary artists Jenny Saville and Marlene Dumas, to name but a few, have created brutally realist nude paintings that provided an alternative aesthetic to imagery of classical beauty. Rembrandt painted washerwomen and maids whilst Freud’s subjects included a benefits supervisor and Dumas depicted sex workers. They all pushed the boundaries of conventional human imagery by painting uncompromising depictions of real people complete with lumps, bumps, folds, stretch marks, warts and cellulite and in the case of Saville on a monumental scale.

Nadav Kander’s Inner Condition series furthers the discussion originated by Renaissance artists which continued well into the 20th century. Kander’s seductive nude series of large-scale painterly photographs creates an uneasy tension between intimacy and objectification, as each of his artist’s models are unforgettably captured in a repertoire of gestures, postures, and movements which evoke an eerie internal disquiet. What do they have to say about the relationship between photographer and his subject? Is Kander preoccupied with psychological exploration? These photographs are concerned with deeper metaphysical expression drawing the viewer to consider the inner condition of the model and certainly the photographer.

Representational styles of the human figure have varied over time and across cultures and so much of the imagery that surrounds us today depicts unreal beauty, one that’s much more fantasy or illusion based (thanks to retouching) than reality. Images of scantly clad women and men are everywhere around us but they are for the most part shallow and one-dimensional. Inner Condition succeeds in challenging the currently acceptable perception of beauty and will no doubt remain in our minds for bringing much needed variety and philosophical depth, which Kander achieves with the realism and intimacy of his nakedly personal depictions of the human body.