Ralph Gibson: Sacred Land: Israel before and after Time
Ralph Gibson's diptych portrayal of Israel, a land at once deeply modern and incredibly ancient.
The American photographer Ralph Gibson traveled throughout Israel and the surrounding region to create a portrait of a land where the past is vividly part of the present. He contrasts these in two-page spreads in which color and black-and-white images face one another: ancient language in a visual dialogue with contemporary human experience.
As architect Moshe Safdie writes in his accompanying text: “This is the promise and paradox of Israel, a new country in an ancient land, modernity next to regression, with abundant and creative energy and cultural output. The high-tech world of invention next to Torah studies. It is still a young country, not even yet past its Centennial. With an optimistic eye, one sees the promise yet to be.” For this project, Gibson visited many of the well-known sites of the Holy Land, including the ancient city of Petra in Jordan as well as Masada and the Sea of Galilee flowing into the River Jordan. Sacred Land is a sumptuous study in the aesthetics of time.
Ralph Gibson was born in Los Angeles in 1939. In 1956 he enlisted in the navy, where he began studying photography. Since he published his first photobook The Somnambulist in 1970, his work has been the subject of over 40 monographs. His work is widely exhibited and held in public collections around the world, such as the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He lives and works in New York.