Frédéric Brenner: An Archeology of Fear and Desire

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An Archeology of Fear and Desire is an attempt to recontextualise Israel as place and metaphor, exploring longing, belonging and exclusion. Frédéric Brenner follows up his opus Diaspora with a visual essay about Israel, a land of devouring myths in which constructs-- social and religious--perpetuate a tyranny of roles, which render us strangers to what is most intimate in ourselves.

Brenner’s essay is an X-ray of an ongoing experiment in survival, portraying the complexity of multiple, dissonant identities. These images question the promise attached to this land and explore the cauldron of fear and shadow within this territory and in each of us, unrecognised, unredeemed, denied, dissimulated and silenced, where the other is instrumentalised and thereby sacrificed.

An Archeology of Fear and Desire is a monograph part of a larger project called 'This Place'. This Place explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of 12 internationally acclaimed photographers (Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall, Nick Waplington).

Initiated by Frédéric Brenner, the project follows in the tradition of such projects as the Mission Héliographique in 19th-century France and the Farm Security Administration in the United States, which gathered artists who use photography to ask essential questions about culture, society and the inner lives of individuals. MACK will publish all 12 monographs as well as an exhibtion catalogue in 2014. 

About the photographer :

Frédéric Brenner (b. 1959 in Paris) is a French photographer. In 1978, Brenner embarked on his first photography project, an exploration of Mea Shearim, an Ultra-Orthodox neighborhood in Jerusalem. The project, which portrays how these Jews from Eastern Europe recreated diaspora in Israel, became Brenner’s first book, Jérusalem: Instants d'Éternité

In 1981, Brenner began photographing Jewish communities around the world, exploring what it means to live and survive with a portable identity and how Jews adopted the traditions and manners of their home countries and yet remained part of the Jewish people. From Rome to New York, India to Yemen, Morocco to Ethiopia, Sarajevo to Samarkand, he spent 25 years chronicling the diaspora of the Jews. Diaspora was also a major exhibition, which opened in New York at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2003.

Brenner is the Laureate of the French Academy in Rome (1992) and the Prix Niepce (1981); he has published six photobooks to date.


Published in April 2014 by MACK Books.

72 pages

37 colour plates

29 cm x 27 cm, clothbound hardcover

Product details

Frédéric Brenner: An Archeology of Fear and Desire

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