Shai Kremer Finds Beauty In Fallen Empires

Shai Kremer’s Fallen Empires series shows unbiased images of Israel’s decay and destruction, encouraging dialogue via archeological remnants and landscapes.

shai kremer fallen empires

“Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present, controls the past.”
George Orwell, 1984

Opening tonight at Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco tonight is Fallen Empires, a collection of large-scale color photographs depicting abandoned military outposts, destroyed houses, and indiscernable remnants of former structures. What is important to remember is that these images are documents of fact, not opinion; Kremer hopes to offer viewers visuals which are devoid of strong political opinion. The images are to speak for themselves.

The quote above is the introductory text chosen by Kremer himself to represent the totality of Fallen Empires. Kremer describes the Fallen Empires series on his website, saying:

“By visually highlighting Israel’s vast archeological repetoire, its architecture and its ruins, I question how they are used today in the discourse of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the future of the country… Every cultural struggle over territory involves overlapping memories, narratives, and physical structures. I am pointing my camera to dig and explore a reality ofIsrael behind the healines and the touristic adoration, to reveal the landscape as a cultural force, an instrument in the construction of national an social identities. Only by understanding the mix of geographical landscape with historical memory can one understand the persistence of the conflict and the difficulty in resolving it…

shai kremer fallen empires

According to the Robert Koch Gallery website:

Kremer’s camera looks at an Israel ignored by media headlines, revealing a land written and re-written by conflict. His beautifully haunting images capture poignant juxtapositions of creation and destruction, man-made and natural, timeless and ephemeral. “My images of vestiges are a platform for discussion about the legitimacy and efficiency of imperialism and its use of power,” the artist says. “The camera… reveals inconvenient truths and explores the landscape as a place of amnesia and erasure.” By visually highlighting Israel’s archeological ruins as reminders of a historical past, Kremer questions how they are used today in discourse around the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the future of the country.

Below are a smattering of images from the show, which runs from now through February 25th, 2012, at Koch Gallery. The reception and book signing are tonight, January 5th, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm.

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Written by
Vivian Hua 華婷婷

Vivian Hua 華婷婷 (they/she) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. Vivian regularly shares human-centered stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE! In 2021, they will begin production on a BIPOC metaphysical comedy film entitled RECKLESS SPIRITS. They are passionate about cultural spaces, sustainable practices, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. YEAH!

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Written by Vivian Hua 華婷婷
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