© Roei Greenberg, Landscape (painting), Dinning HallKibbutz Yiftach, 2015. From the series 'Along the Break'
The “Syrian-African Break” is the popular name for the Israeli part of the Great Rift Valley which crosses Israel from its northernmost point to its southernmost tip. En route, it carves out the Golan Heights, the Hula Valley, the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea, the Outback and the Red Sea. This geographic phenomenon also plays a key role in the way physical borders have been placed. It shapes the borders with Lebanon and Syria in the North and the border with Jordan and Egypt in the South.
This journey is a poetic exploration along the topographic boundaries of this geographic phenomenon. It also confronts another layer of a “Break” that this local landscape represents; from the minefields of the Golan Heights and the watch towers over the Lebanon border, through the peeling wall painting in an abandoned hotel in Tiberius and the thunderous silence over the border with Jordan. The empty communal kibbutz dinning hall, an abandoned resort on the drying shores of the Dead Sea and the dry Plaines of the Outback.
The physical and metaphorical journey is a main theme in my work that focuses on places in which geography and history meets, looking at the complexity of the locality. My attitude to the place is not limited to nostalgia or longing, but creates a complex perspective, critical and sarcastic on one hand and laced with great empathy on the other. This emotional duality runs through the works and sews them together in a way that questions the photographic narrative of “here and now” and my position as documenter. I think of myself as a story teller, a poet.
The formal approach to photography as if it was pure painting and the extremely detailed large format prints of straight photography on the opposing side, create an ongoing dialogue between the sublime and the everyday. I look up to the great American Photographers such as Robert Frank, Joel Sternfeld and Alec Soth, dealing with the open road and vast land and import that notion into the small, restricted with borders, claustrophobic Israeli landscape.
© Roei Greenberg, Syrian Tank, Banias, 2016. From the series 'Along the Break'
© Roei Greenberg, Ruins (Kedes), Tel Kadesh, 2013. From the series 'Along the Break'
© Roei Greenberg, Roadcut, Route 90, 2013. From the series 'Along the Break'
© Roei Greenberg, Mural, Genosar Tiberia, 2016. From the series 'Along the Break'
© Roei Greenberg, Tents Dragout (Sunset), 2016. From the series 'Along the Break'
© Roei Greenberg, Break Route 90, 2016. From the series 'Along the Break'
© Roei Greenberg, Scenic Route, Timna Park, 2016. From the series 'Along the Break'