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A CHAOS OF APPEARANCES

"Forms of multiplicity and incongruity abound... We realize that the fragments are not governed by a secret unity: Charles Kane is a simulacrum, a chaos of appearances." Jorge Luis Borges on Citizen Kane

Kobi's work is autobiographical and references the self and identity. He uses the medium of photography as a way of recording experiences, capturing moments from his everyday life to draw on physical, mental and emotional levels.

In his first series of photographs, he recreated scenes from his days as a soldier in the army. This series entitled ‘Views’ addresses the fine line that divides the homo-social and the homo-erotic aspects of lives of soldiers in the army.Another series from this period is entitled ‘Fragments of Life’, a series of staged images where he leads the viewer into a world of memory, conflict and trapped emotion which Kobi experienced as an adolescent growing up in a deeply conservative and religious society.

Kobi produced his series entitled ‘Intimate Strangers’ shortly after moving to London, a time in which he was questioning his identity and his emotions in his new life and in the city:  "I felt like a stranger and I recognised that Soho was full of people who were strangers to each other and who were searching for intimacy, either through a glance while walking down the street or through an encounter".

In his series entitled ‘Love Stories’ which was created over the course of several years, Kobi explored notions of the macho and the militant versus the homoerotic in revolutionary Cuba. These notions were very familiar to him from his youth and adolescence in Israel, a time during which his confusion and bewilderment about masculinity were left unresolved. "As a foreigner and an outsider traveling in Cuba, I was able to address and explore my childhood reactions to the macho world that had previously repelled and intimidated me".

In the first "Land-scapes" trilogy titled ‘Promised Lands’ Kobi explored the concept of identity in a more abstract and indirect way. The images from this series are all landscapes and represent worlds relating to personal identities embedded in his mind. ‘Canaan’ are images from elemental landscapes in Iceland where he recognised extracts from biblical tales taught in his childhood. ‘America’ represents the promise that a land can hold to generations of immigrants, such as those of his parents. ‘Hampstead Heath’ represents a place of promised pleasure, excitement and even maybe love.

 

(c) Caroline Smith, 2007