Barry Frydlender - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 3, 2013 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    The sweeping view in Barry Frydlender’s Pitzutziya is replete with poignant metaphors that address the history of photography, the construction of a national identity and the digital matrix underlying reality in the 21st-century. The image presents an exaggeratedly elongated interior view of a convenience store, commonly referred to as a ‘pitzutziya’ in Frydlender’s native Israel. The hyper-accentuated horizontality of the image implies both a divergence from reality as well as a cinematic reel. The allusion to the latter genre is not coincidental, for Pitzutziya is constructed of dozens of images taken by Frydlender with a handheld 35mm camera and later edited and spliced together over a period of months. The resulting image is a strong counter argument against the historical claims that the field of photography is inevitably tethered to reality. Also, by piecing together an artificial visual tapestry, Frydlender presents an image that is purposeful in its dual and simultaneous ability to disorient and lure, straddling a fine line between familiarity and fantasy.

    The sense of duality is likewise extended to the title. In addition to standing for a convenience store, the term ‘pitzutziya’ is derived from the Hebrew word ‘pitzutz’, or ‘explosion’, thereby describing the overabundance—be it in imagery, or, in the context of this image, consumerism. The store is cramped with overstuffed shelves that are bursting with canned goods, snacks, grains, candy, soft drinks, liquor, tobacco, household goods, toiletries and other everyday necessities. Moreover, the products are predominantly Israeli, American and Russian, collectively alluding to the steady Americanization of Israeli Pop Culture since the advent of the digital era as well as the swelling Russian influence that began with the immigration influx from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s. The image, therefore, is not merely a testament to a growing bracing of mass consumerism but also to the current socio-cultural zeitgeist in Israel. In fact, the interior scene is flanked by two women: the seller on the back right side of the store who appears to be of Russian descent, and a customer on the front left side of the store who appears to be of Middle Eastern decent. Together, the two women provide an overview of the benchmark migratory waves that have come to define Israel in the 20th-century and also hint at underlying shifts in the socio-economic class hierarchy.

    As a digital collage, Pitzutziya also reflects the manner in which information in the 21st century is produced, relayed, processed and received. Living in an era where digital communication has usurped personal experience, people in Westernized societies are more adept to communicate and consequently experience reality through the aid of screens, smartphones, cyber forums, chat rooms, reality shows and online profiles. In that regard, Pitzutziya is reflective of the context in which it was created—a digital, manipulated, filltered construct where the link to a tangible, factual reality is tenuous at best. The strength of Pitzutziya herein lies in its ability to act as a two-way mirror, simultaneously reflecting back on itself as well as its viewers.

    Frydlender’s work has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York; The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland; The Jewish Museum, Paris; the Jewish Museum, Berlin; The Jewish Museum, Frankfurt; The Jewish Museum, Amsterdam; The Jewish Museum of Maryland; The National Collection of Contemporary Art (FNAC), Paris; and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, among others.



Chromogenic print, Diasec and flush-mounted.
31 x 108 1/2 in. (78.7 x 275.6 cm)
Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 5/5 on an illustrated certificate accompanying the work.

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $110,500

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Worldwide Head of Photographs
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3 April 2013
New York