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photo-eye Book Reviews: Elad Lassry

Elad Lassry, Photographs by Elad Lassry.
Published by JRP|Ringier, 2011.
Elad Lassry
Reviewed by Shane Lavalette
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Elad Lassry Elad Lassry
Photographs by Elad Lassry. Edited by Beatrix Ruf. Text by Bettina Funcke. Fionn Meade, Liz Kotz
JRP|Ringier, 2011. Hardbound. 112 pp., 64 color and 11 black & white illustrations, 8x10".

In his very first monograph, Israeli-born artist Elad Lassry juxtaposes a selection of photographs, photocollages and film stills as survey of his artistic practice. I can recall an interview in which Lassry described an interest in making photographs that have "no home," a concept he explores by attempting to create works that are somehow void of authorship or index. In the vein of his contemporaries Christopher Williams, Roe Ethridge and Torbjørn Rødland, his photographs are at once extraordinarily brilliant and blatantly familiar, or as Beatrix Ruf puts it in the book's introduction, both "seductive and irritating."

Perhaps most immediately interesting for those who are new to Lassry's work is that his photographs are reproduced in the pages of the book as if they are objects hung on a gallery wall. Each picture is complete with a uniquely painted color frame, often a nearly exact match of a prominent hue within the image. This deliberate statement draws attention to the plasticity and artificiality of photography itself, something that Lassry clearly delights in.

Elad Lassry, by Elad Lassry. Published by JRP|Ringier, 2011.
Inside of the frame, we find a slew of seemingly disconnected subjects - animals, cosmetics, fruits and vegetables, actors, models, and so on - some staged by Lassry in his studio and others re-appropriated from picture magazines and film archives, sometimes reworked or overlaid with other negatives. He mingles still lifes, studio portraits and abstract experimentations to create a pop-artsy hyper-commercial postmodern language that is indeed something all its own.

Elad Lassry, by Elad Lassry. Published by JRP|Ringier, 2011.
 There are the books that sing, and then there are the ones that just sort of hum along. Perhaps this is the separation between those that are necessarily books and those that serve simply to catalog the works of art. As playful and multifaceted as Lassry's photographic work is, I will admit I hoped for more of a reflection of this in the publication itself. Nonetheless, there is much to marvel at on the pages. Whether struck with intrigue or indifference, the pervasive dualities in the work of Elad Lassry keep us looking further.—Shane Lavalette


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 Shane Lavalette (b. 1987, Burlington, VT) is a photographer currently living and working in Somerville, MA. In 2009, he received his BFA from Tufts University in partnership with The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His photographs have been published and exhibited internationally. In addition, Lavalette is the founding editor of Lay Flat, a publication of contemporary photography and writing on the medium. www.shanelavalette.com / www.layflat.org

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