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Michal Baror

Michal Baror works in Israel. She received her BA in Fine Art from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (2008) and her MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London (2013). Her solo shows include It Is No Dream at TEA, Tenerife (2018), Looters at the CCA, Tel Aviv (2017), Abandoned Property at the Yad Mordechai Kubbutz (2016), and The Hawks and the Sparrows at the Petach-Tikva Museum of Art (2015). Recently, Baror participated in a number of group exhibitions in London, New York and Vienna. She is the recipient of the Young Artist Prize for 2015 and the ARTPORT residency for 2015–2016.

In her work, Baror exposes and uses the power that lies in the transformation of objects into knowledge. Through the exploration of existing knowledge systems, objects, and institutions, she works to expose the building blocks used to construct histories and identities. This research utilises a dual gaze: one eye turns to the objects “themselves”, while the other is constantly re-evaluating their cultural and political context. The duality in this approach also carries over into the manner in which Baror utilises photography as a medium and as a physical object, and the role that the institution plays in exhibiting the works.

Baror is drawn to systems, institutions and places that are built with the aim of creating order in the chaos of our histories and identities through the acts of cataloguing, classification, and organisation. Many of her works are institutionally specific, challenging the organising mechanism of the place in which they are shown and from which they emerge.

Photography has a dual role in her work: on the one hand, it functions as a medium through which she creates (by photographing) or collects documents and evidence that were rooted into narratives in order to rethink them. On the other hand, it functions as a metaphor for thinking about representation and the transformation of objects into knowledge. Baror often turns the conventional photographic act on its head: Instead of going out into the three-dimensional world and cutting fragments of it into two-dimensional photographs, she uses existing photographs in their fragmented, flat state, manipulating their placement, size, and other parameters to transform them once again into tangible and tactile parts of the world. These are sometimes paired with text. The result is new systems of knowledge created from existing objects.