Ronit Porat was born in Kibbutz Kfar Giladi in Northern Israel, in 1975. She holds an MFA from the Chelsea School of Art and Design in London, and a BA in Photography and Digital Media from Hadassah College in Jerusalem, which she completed with distinction.
In her work, Porat creates archives. She tells historical stories with collage, altering and re-contextualizing historical images. She is most interested in the Weimar time period in Berlin, Germany, a time period in which gender roles became more fluid, and a period that we currently view with the shadow of its future cast over it. In a sense, Porat is not a traditional photographer – she relies on archival images rather than her own camera. But the identity of her work is rooted in photography, and her manual processes engage with its history. In her 2017 exhibition, Mr. Ulbrich and Miss Neumann, Porat built and displayed images through a stereoscope of a world panorama.
Porat’s stories do not have an obvious progression in plot – instead they create an atmosphere. She employs optical illusions, such as the double imaging of a stereoscope, to conjure up hazy characters, never allowing for any one of them to be easily labeled as a hero, a villain, or a victim. Animals, particularly birds, are a recurring motif in her work, echoing the shapes of the human body and adding a layer of mystery. In creating distance between the viewer and the characters, Porat respects the multiple viewpoints within each story, and the layers of a story that is told several times over.
Porat’s works can most accurately be described as stories about photography. She explores threads that run through its history: voyeurism, documentation, patriarchy, sexuality. She is mindful of the power of the medium, and her work raises a question at its core: who owns a photograph – the photographer, the subject, the archivist, or the viewer?
Porat was the recipient of The Lauren and Mitchell Presser Photography Award for a Young Israeli Artist in 2017. She has received grants from Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst (AFK) (2017); Artis (2016); the American-Israel Cultural Foundation (2002, 2004); and was awarded Israel’s Ministry of Culture’s Creativity Encouragement Prize (2013). Porat has participated in several artist residency programs, including the School of Visual Arts Summer Residency, New York (2008); Keret House Residency, Warsaw (2013); and Castrum Pergrini, Amsterdam (2014). She completed a residency with Artport Tel Aviv in 2013. Porat is a founding member of the collective Indie Photography Gallery.Read more