FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOS ANGELES, CA.
The Paul Kopeikin Gallery is pleased to present “Serial No° 3817131”, an exhibition by artist Rachel Papo will open on March 18th and run through April 15th, 2006. Rachel Papo brings us this intimate series of photographs from her time in the Israeli military. A reception will take place on Saturday, March 18th from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The reception is free and open to the public. The gallery is located at 6150 Wilshire Blvd, just west of Fairfax. For more information please visit our website at www.paulkopeikingallery.com
Revisiting her experiences as a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, Rachel Papo has brought forward a series of photographs that has caught the eye of many with its timelessness, universality and beauty. Papo reveals a facet of her experience in the military, one that is generally overlooked by the global community. She reveals the soldier, often caught in a transient moment of self-reflection and uncertainty, as if questioning her own identity. The expected existence of the confident and nationalistic soldier is replaced by moments that disclose a personal, complex and delicate spectrum of emotions.
The artist states, “My project is about a return: Revisiting my experience as a soldier inthe Israel Defense Forces between the years 1988-1990. Rather than portraying the soldier as heroic, confident, or proud, my images disclose a complexity of emotions with an emphasis on melancholy. With this project I wish to seek answers to matters that were left unresolved, and to shed some light on a side of the Israeli Army that is less obvious and predictable and more vulnerable than the way it is commonly portrayed. The photographs expose the reality of the situation and the state of contradiction that the subject is in.”
The life of a teenage girl in Israel is interrupted when she is plucked out of her environment at an age when sexual, educational, and family values are at their highest exploration point. She is then placed in a rigorous institution, where individuality becomes a secondary matter, making room for nationalism. "I solemnly swear…to devote all of my strength and to sacrifice my life to protect the land and the liberty of Israel," repeats the newly recruited soldier during her swearing-in ceremony. She enters the two-year period in which she will change from a girl to a woman, a teenager to an adult, all under a militaristic, masculine environment, and in the confines of an army that is engaged in daily war and conflict.
My project is about a return: revisiting my experience as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces between the years 1988-1990. Through a series of images showing female soldiers in army bases and outside, individually and in groups, I attempt to reveal a facet of this experience that is generally overlooked by the global community. Rather than portraying the soldier as heroic, confident, or proud, my images disclose a complexity of emotions with an emphasis on melancholy. The soldier is often caught in a transient moment of self-reflection, uncertainty, a break from her daily reality, as if questioning her own identity.
My photographs expose the reality of the situation and the state of contradiction that my subject is in. She is a soldier in uniform but at the same time she is a teenage girl who is trying to negotiate between these two extreme dimensions. She is in an army base surrounded by hundreds like her, but underneath the uniform there is an individual that wishes to be noticed.
During my military service I endured periods of depression and loneliness, which at the time were unclear to me. When I look at these pictures that I took over the past year I feel an emotion that I would describe as affectionate, maternal, which might be in some way related to something that I was longing for during my service. These feelings constitute the frame of my project, and the core impulse of my decision to go back. With this project I wish to seek answers to matters that were left unresolved, and to shed some light on a side of the Israeli Army that is less obvious and predictable and more vulnerable than the way it is commonly portrayed.
Rachel Papo is an Israeli who was born in 1970 in Columbus, Ohio but was raised in Israel. She began photographing as a teenager and attended a renowned fine-arts high-school in Haifa, Israel. At age eighteen she served in the Israeli Air Force as a photographer. These two intensive years of service inspired her current photographic project titled after her own number during service -- Serial No. 3817131.
She earned a BFA in Fine Arts from Ohio State University in Columbus (1991-96), and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City (2002-05).
She began photographing Israeli female soldiers in the summer of 2004 as part of her masters thesis project. She continues to photograph in both Israel and New York, pursuing fine art photography and accepting commissioned projects. Her photographs are included in several public and private collections. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Recipient of the 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellowship in Photography, NY
Second place runner up - MyArtSpace (myartspace.com) Competition -- Jury selection
FINALIST - Santa Fe Prize for Photography. Juror: Chris Pichler, Publisher, Nazraeli Press, NM
2006 Ronnie Heyman Prize for an Emerging Jewish Visual Artist, NY
Camera Arts Magazine, 2nd prize winner in photo competition, NM
ASMPNY Image ‘05, 3rd prize winner in photo competition, NY
Focused, Honorable Mention by juror: Mary Virginia Swanson, WA
The Bertha Anolic Memorial Fine Arts Award, PA
Review Santa Fe Acceptance and Scholarship, NM
PDN 2005 Photography Annual winner, NY
The Alumni Society Scholarship, School of Visual Arts, NY
Winner of a two-person show selected by Andy Grundberg, Griffin Museum of Photography, Winchester, MA
2004: The Rose Biller Endowment Fund, New York, NY
1995: The Edith Fergus Gilmore Award, Columbus, OH
1994: 1st prize winner, The Lantern Photo Contest, Columbus, OH
1991: 1st and grand prize winner, The Lantern Photo Contest, Columbus, OH
1986: 2nd prize winner, The Ocean Photo Contest, National Maritime Museum, Israel
Egoista Magazine, Portugal
Marie Claire, Hong Kong
Marie Claire, China
URB Magazine, Los Angeles, US
Capricho Magazine, Brasil
B EAST Magazine, produced in Prague and Estonia (where to buy)
Sofshavua Magazine, Israel
MAXI Magazine, Germany
Das Magazin, Tages-Anzeiger, Zürich, Switzerland
Hartford Courant, Northeast Magazine, CT
Cover story in SIE+ER, SonntagsBLICK, Zürich, Switzerland
DIE WELTWOCHE, Zürich, Switzerland
Neue Zeitung für Tirol, Innsbruck, Austria
SZ Wochenende, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Münich, Germany
Photomedia Center Insight magazine, Erie, PA (order your free copy)
Internationalist, Journal of Culture and Currents, Seattle, WA
Yediot America, New York
Time Out New York
OjodePez 06 documentary photography magazine, Barcelona, Spain
The Jewish Journal Of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
The New York Sun, NY
Cover story in PDNedu, NY
Camera Arts Magazine, NM
Visual Arts Journal, NY
PDN Photo Annual ’05, NY