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The challenge raised by the Double Exposure - the Anglo-Israeli Photographic Fund (Jacobs Fund) Award assumed a project combining photography and Jewish activity in the UK. Ilya Rabinovich choose to continue his long-lasting project, began when still studying in Bezalel, which, until then, yield 3 series of photographs, each one concentrated on one kind of institution, perpetuating their activity while describing them without human presence. Those describe mental hospitals, schools and first-class hotels.
The current project focused on the Jewish institutions in the UK: community centre, synagogues, museum, schools, research institute, and library. The absent of the human presence reveals, in this case, not the activity taken place in those places and not about the absents, but the relations of the buildings themselves to the environment and place they were built in. As the Jewish human activity is not contained in the photographs, one can not differentiate those buildings from any other buildings in the UK serving for different or similar purposes; one can not distinguish the Spiro Institute building from any other Victorian building, and without close look -discovering the ark of the synagogue - one can not differentiate the West London Synagogue from a church. However, the photographed sites have been carefully selected, just for their specific Jewish function, and that acknowledgment confronting the ambivalent outcome serves as a kind of criticism about the characteristics of Jewish institutions whenever and means of classification in general. The cloudy weather of some of the photographs, the meadow or the red-brick houses seen through the window in one picture can locate those places in any north European country, and enable us to manned them with all kind of people, regardless of their orientation, race, nationality or religion.
Written by Raqefet Yedidia 1996.