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Doron’s latest photographic series presents us with Yassin, a young man whom the artist approached at random in a London street.
Yassin - an equilibrist in the circus - becomes the intense portrait Doron makes, and whose initial portrayal as an ordinary youth becomes an entry into something more profound and enchanting. Doron shoots at close range and marks out symbols from Yassin’s surrounds - stringed lights, boxing gloves and knives. Physicality is earmarked as the striking allure of Yassin’s craft, with his statuesque physique and angular profile elevated above the banality of his caravan home.
Doron’s early focus on the small-scale emblems of strength transforms into the open spaces of Yassin’s performance. We move from the intimate and unglamorous tableaux of the trailer interior with his sleeping brother, bare light bulb and netted windows, to a rambunctious Staffordshire bull terrier and on to the latter, revelatory images of Yassin, poised single-handedly on a pole. The stillness and slowness that have characterised his portraits so far are energised in a series of balletic, improbable poses surrounded by open skies and landscape. The early expectation that Doron captures in his subjects – waiting, sleeping people in claustrophobic surrounds – is relieved in Yassin’s transformative balancing act.
Itai Doron became an avid film-buff as a youth after a childhood filled with visits to the movies and with stories told to him by his mother about its stars, and has since made numerous works in a range of disciplines and media as varied as photographs, photo-collages, video and audio-visual installations that are influenced by cinematic narrative and are largely concerned with the dream-like world of fame, legends and celebrities, while exploring the realms between the absurd and the sublime.
In recent years he has used primarily the medium of photography as a tool for exploring the realities of carefully selected and disparate geographical locations. From walking through cities such as Prague, Tel Aviv and Turin to traveling through India and Japan, Doron used a variety of cameras, both 35mm and medium format photography, whatever was appropriate, usually never taking more than one picture of the same thing. His personal vision of these landscapes has resulted in an eloquent set of pictures that shifts between the real and the fictitious and is imbued with a sense of the elegiac and the profound as it fuses a documentary style with a poetic sensibility. And although people do not usually feature as subjects in these pictures, the images are permeated with the spirit of invisible people still present.
Doron’s latest body of work is a study, through formal portraiture, of the realities and essence of young adults. ‘Yassine’ (2006) and ‘Giorgios’ (2007) are a series of photographs that focus on the hopes and dreams of young migratory workers, marked by quiet grace. The work explores movement and alienation, and is essentially autobiographical without the artist being present in it. The son of a Romanian immigrant, Doron is fascinated by the fact that these young men are, on one hand, the backbone of the British construction, hospitality and health industries, but on the other hand, an invisible part of the country’s social and cultural landscape.
Doron was born in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1967. Following his graduation from Goldsmiths College of Art in 1993, he exhibited at the White Cube gallery in London, and concurrently showed a series of his large-scale installations at Canary Wharf. He has since participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, Israel and the United States. Itai Doron lives and works in London.