Adi Nes: A Rooted Wandering
Project room: Fabien Mérelle

Adi Nes: A Rooted Wandering
Project room: Fabien Mérelle


Adi Nes, Untitled (from “The Village”), 2008. Color photograph mounted on aluminum, ed. 4/10, 100 x 125 cm.
May 17, 2017

May 18–June 24, 2017

Opening: May 18, 6–8pm

Praz-Delavallade Los Angeles
6150 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Adi Nes: A Rooted Wandering
Praz-Delavallade Los Angeles is honored to present the first exhibition with the gallery on the west coast of the renowned Israeli photographer Adi Nes. Nes stands out as one of the most important art photographers in Israel. Through 20 years of activity, his artwork has been groundbreaking while clearly presenting the multilayered complexities of Israeli identity. For his fourth show at Praz-Delavallade, a selection of various series will be unveiled.

Central themes in Adi Nes’s photographs deal with the issues of Israeli identity and masculinity. His works wrestle with social and political questions revolving around gender, the center versus the periphery, Eastern versus Western cultures, ethnic issues, Judaism, local myths, militarism, humanism, and social justice.

As a photographer working in Israel, Nes makes meticulously crafted images that are both autobiographical and attest to living in a country in conflict. His photographs are reminiscent of Renaissance or Baroque paintings, often based on parables and collective cultural memory. Sexual tension is ever-present in Nes’s work, as he delves into complex explorations of homoeroticism. His goal is to reveal a universal humanism in his dramatic portraits.

In one of his most well known images, Nes recreates Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper but replaces the central figures with Israeli soldiers. This photograph appeared on the front page of The New York Times in 2008 and helped establish Nes as one of Israel’s most acclaimed photographers. “My staged photographs are oversized and often recall well-known scenes from Art History and Western Civilization combined with personal experiences based on my life as a gay youth growing up in a small town on the periphery of Israeli society.” says Nes in an interview at the Israeli Center in San Francisco.

Nes further explores these themes in his series “The Village,” which was shown concurrently in New York, Tel Aviv and Paris in 2012. In an interview with The Jewish Chronicle, Nes explained “When I created The Village I thought to create an image like a dream. In many ways dreams are fantastic and pastoral but also full of fears and all the things that we deny.” He described “The Village” as a metaphor for Israel, “a small place that was built after a tragedy”. There is an external beauty but at the same time “under the surface there is something dark and not quiet.”

Adi Nes was born in Kiryat-Gat, Israel in 1966 and now works in Tel Aviv. He has had solo shows at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. His work is in many public collections including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada; The Jewish Museum, New York; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, as well as major foundations and private collections.

Project room
Fabien Mérelle: New Works

When you first see Fabien Mérelle’s latest works on paper, it is impossible not to wonder whether the artist is in fact inhabited by the spirit of Hegel. If not, then the philosopher certainly exerts a strong influence on him — if that is, the highly-conspicuous presence of contradictory notions and duality in this young artist’s body of work is anything to go by. And yet upon closer inspection, as in Hegel’s dialectic, these contradictions are resolved creating a form of unity which provides Fabien Mérelle with a wide range of possibilities to express himself, to imagine himself as another, without losing touch with his true identity.

His aesthetic abandon, his proximity with the object and aspects of storytelling, as well as his determination to become ‘the other’, all bear witness to Fabien Mérelle’s true nature: a free spirit capable of creating and imposing both his highly-personal imaginary world and a similarity of meaning. In his drawings, Fabien Mérelle invokes unsuspected forces that he controls by crossing swords with his inherent nature, taking the risk of confronting his own contradictions, anger and uncertainty. Giving birth gives rise to pain, but this pain is also synonymous with release. Like an alchemist’s laboratory, the artist’s studio shelters the manifestations of his wide range of ideas, enabling him to concretize the exemplary passage from idea to creative act: the absolute in terms of differentiation from oneself. He produces works that are an opportunity to discover a subconscious mind inhabited by chimera, rhizomes (as understood by Gilles Deleuze) and a fertile profusion of images and ideas.

In this exhibition, Fabien Mérelle, the explorer of the gesture, draws ever nearer to the subconscious as he lands on previously-untraveled shores and by making the invisible visible touches the very essence of painting itself.

For all inquiries please contact Anthony Salvador: anthony [​at​] or T +1 (323) 509 0895

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May 17, 2017

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