Yuval Yairi (born in Israel 1961) lives and works in Jerusalem. He studied visual communication at the WIZO College Haifa (1984-1988), director of a design studio in Jerusalem (1988-1999), produced and directed short films and documentaries until 2004. Since 2004 Yairi devotes his work to research and artistic activity, primarily in mediums of photography and video.
The subjects of Yairi's work relate to Places, and his gaze - whether it's a historical place, cultural, personal or political - explores these places in context of memory.
A Leper Hospital or a writer's library, an abandoned Arab village, a cheap hotel-room or a museum undergoing renovations - transform through his personal perspective, of deconstructing and recomposing spaces, times and events.
Yairi's works are exhibited in museums, galleries and festivals in Israel and abroad, and are in public and private collections.
In his current works, Yuval Yairi adopts the figure of the “surveyor” as an alter-ego, a partner for looking out at the place in which he lives, and for introspection and personal soul searching, trying to come to terms with certain chapters in his past.
The surveyor’s role, which Yairi has performed for years as an aerial scout in the army, has left a deep and traumatic imprint on him, to the point of a split into two personas: the artist and the surveyor.
From the surveyor’s perspective, the mountain, the trail, the valley, and the terrain, are sites to be detected and delimited on a grid of latitude and longitude lines. The surveyor encapsulates the site and the landscape, replacing them with a codified set of fixed signs that facilitate orientation. The surveyor’s view soars to the heights, way above the terrestrial scale, a bird’s eye view that looks down in a way that captures the land far beyond the familiar field of vision available from a standing height. The distance and perspective provide him with power of control. The physical detachment from the ground allows him to perform his task in purportedly clear conscience.
The poetics of Yairi is his artistic ability to use disruption and assembly to create an accumulative photography of a timeless space. The act of disassembling and assembling a photograph allows Yairi to string together different non-sequential times, events, and places – into a multilayered moral space. The symbiotic relations between surveyor and artist, the conscious and the subconscious they sometimes stand for, are the motivation for creating the photograph with its stratified components.
The surveyor’s room is full of old measuring tools predating the age of satellite navigation. Devices geared towards what human senses are capable of grasping and perceiving. Upon his return to the terrestrial, he gathers bullets and findings from bloody battles in an empty silent landscape. Back in his room he sorts, photographs, examines, and catalogs his findings.
The project comprises two practices: the artistic practice that presents landscape and still life photographs in which the artist incorporates drawings, objects, and findings from their shared world. The second is an archival-research practice that reveals the sources of inspiration and work process of the surveyor and the artist, together and separately.
The pieces presented in this project are the product of the artist’s devoted and laborious ability to sew the quilt of time and place in order to take on the question of identity and of morality. The artist conceals hints and symbols from the surveyor’s world, though uncovering the finding of a sealed and hidden black box.