October 15, 2018

The Cartography of Power in Israel

“AMIR GUBERSTEIN (b. 1985, Ra’anana, Israel) makes maps. He collects data like a cartographer, gathering information about bodies of water and land masses, as well as communities and their borders. Much of his information comes from independent monitoring agencies in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, which work to record the development of Israeli settlements. These resources chart the movements of power, and Guberstein understands mapmaking as a powerful political tool.

Through a process he describes as intuitive and almost trancelike, Guberstein reinterprets this information to make new maps that are drained of their utility. Using Photoshop to combine charts and data points, he makes custom silkscreens that lock together like states or counties. He formerly used his screens in a conventional manner, rendering his images with traditional printmaking techniques, but in recent work he’s liberated his imagery from such material constraints, running a mixture of white and black gesso containing sand from his hometown and the West Bank through the screens onto a ground of white microsuede or paper. His marks recall De Kooning’s luscious brushstrokes, but if De Kooning’s marks suggest landscapes viewed from eye level, Guberstein’s vision is decidedly aerial. His works on microsuede are best understood as maps, but they carry a landscape’s insistence on subjective interpretation and personal vision.”

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