Critics’ Picks

Talia Chetrit, Parents, 2014, HD video, color sound, 9 minutes, 44 seconds.

Talia Chetrit, Parents, 2014, HD video, color sound, 9 minutes, 44 seconds.


Talia Chetrit

kaufmann repetto
Via di Porta Tenaglia, 7
November 20, 2014–January 10, 2015

The photographs in “Model,” Talia Chetrit’s latest solo exhibition, capture contrived, unnatural postures and seem to have given the portrayed subjects—a couple showing a touch of self-conscious romanticism—more time than necessary to get ready, to make themselves up. Moreover, they point to obvious clichés that intoxicate the onlooker in a stupor, to the point where they are inoculated with doubts regarding the veracity of romanticism underpinning the works. Here, Chetrit has portrayed her own parents, as she has done on numerous occasions in the past, inviting them to be spontaneous. For having been advised ahead of time, they have ended up being stereotypes of a model parent couple.

A video at the heart of the show, Parents, 2014, interestingly documents the intervening moments between one shot and another. It was filmed without the subjects’ knowledge and captures those interstices between poses, moments of relaxation, intimate conversation, and private interaction, which in turn the artist has violated and made dramatically public, opening up a fracture in the couple’s behavior that is customary but that remains encrypted to the outside world. Indeed, this is a world of gestures and habits that appears to have astonished the couple’s daughter. As if in a bubble, these customs have been repeated for years and then, suddenly, unexpectedly, have been exposed by this footage, shown for the first time during the opening of the exhibition, creating a precedent in the interpretation of the identity we feign through conventions of familiarity.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.