Rafael Y. Herman
April – October 2019
Rafael Y. Herman at Zazà
Zazà Ramen presents a site-specific installation by Paris based artist, Rafael Yossef Herman.
Every six months, Brendan Becht, art collector and founder of the restaurant, invites an artist to showcase his work in Zazà Ramen. For this new venture, Japanese cuisine joins contemporary art thanks to artist Rafael Yossef Herman.
After exhibiting in the Sala delle Cariatidi at Palazzo Reale in 2006 and at Studio Guastalla, Herman returns to Milan presenting a unique photographic installation of recent production (Saltus III, formerly exhibited at Ludwig Muzeum in Budapest) as well as some works from the project “Bereshit-Genesis” (2004-2006).
Rafael Yossef Herman portrays the hidden existence of nocturnal darkness, enabling the viewer to experience a visual sensation that would be impossible to experience with simple human sight. Through his works, often described as performance art like the one exhibited at Zazà Saltus III, the artist creates a new reality depicting trees, paths, and clearings in the forests or open fields with flowers. The use of nature is a practical tool for Herman rather than the subject of his work, which is instead light, absence, and psychology of vision. All these elements can’t be seen, exactly like the places Herman works with: familiar environments because of the viewer’s memory and knowledge, but at the same time uncanny and challenging perceptive and vision limits. The works, re-creating a reality that doesn’t exist in the day nor in the night, is made with a self-invented technic, which creates never-seen-before shadows, with a palette of colours and bright details that are different from those created by the daylight.
The three works from the project “Bereshit-Genesis” were created at night under the moonlight, without any digital manipulation. The trees are surrounded by a light that cancels spatial limits, evoking the first day of creation, which by the book of Genesis was a divine light or the origin. The tree is a metaphor of life and choice, “the tree of knowledge”, of Good and Evil. The trees of Israel, the land of Bereshit, are solitary portraits in the desert, mainly on full moon nights.
Rafael Yossef Herman offers the vision of an “other reality”, that of nocturnal images that create an alternative reality never seen by the human eye before. He examines the limits of timeless reality and surreality, searching for virtuality or a new reality arising from the mystery of the night. Although the nocturnal landscape is close to us, its details cannot be observed. These landscapes that do not exist for the human eye are therefore intuitions from another reality.
Rafael Yossef Herman was born in 1974 in Be’er Sheva, Israel. Herman began studying classical music at the age of six, becoming a percussionist in Philharmonic orchestras, ensembles and rock bands. After graduating from the School of Economics and Management at the University of Tel Aviv, he moved to Latin America, traversing seven countries and exploring his craft: he photographed Cuban musicians, the Carnival of Bahia and the Zapatistas in Mexico, working with Amnesty International in Paraguay, eventually becoming part of an artist’s commune in Chile. In 2003, Herman moved to Milan, and presented his project “Bereshit-Genesis” at Palazzo Reale, which launched him into the international art scene. In 2012, Herman’s portrait of John Chamberlain was chosen by the Guggenheim Museum of N.Y as an iconic visual for a number of seminal tributes. In 2013, he was invited by TED to speak on his artistic language, a talk he titled “Alternative Reality” and in 2015, he won the Prague Photosphere Award. His recent works address two main themes: metaphysical curiosity and the tale of what lies beyond, and the investigation of light as a physical element and protagonist of space-time. Herman’s works are in prominent public and private collections, including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Salsali Private Museum of Dubai and MAXXI national museum, Italy. Herman’s recent solo exhibition in 2017 at the magnificent Testaccio pavilion of MACRO museum in Rome claimed great international attention and marked the largest exhibition of the artist prior to the Ludwig Museum solo Exhibition in Budapest at the spring of 2018. Rafael Y. Herman is an invited artist of Ville de Paris at La Citè Internationale des Arts. He currently works and lives in Paris.