My Family and Other Animals

“My Childhood Album,” Group exhibition, 2022, Gordon College of Education, Haifa.
Curator: Rina Genusov

Oded Zaidel returns to his childhood album following his father’s passing. Leafing through the family album and the desire to document photographs from his childhood arose from the need to grasp past memories and the memory of his father lest they disappear. Zaidel’s album comprises black and white photographs and faded color photos commemorating festive family events, occasions familiar to many of us. Family photographers did not have artistic pretensions, yet in an era in which each film had a limited number of frames, the moments to photograph were carefully selected to document the most significant moments important for the family’s history.

In the dialogue the artist maintains with childhood photographs, Zaidel deconstructs the photographed scenes, reconstructs them, and transforms them into expressive paintings. In the transition from processing personal mourning into the craft of painting, Zaidel works within artistic freedom, unravels the importance of festive moments, stretches the bounds of realistic painting to create amusing scenes that have a touch of exaggeration and humor. In the transformation undergone by the photographs, the color is intensified, the figures are distilled, the space is flattened, and the compositions are constructed from geometric planes that characterize Zaidel’s artistic language.