Serpent's Chronicle

Overview


The story of Adam and Eve powerfully retold in photographs, from an unexpected viewpoint

With his last book, Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists, Neil Folberg - already well known as a photographer of landscape and architecture - took his work in a surprising, and successful, new direction, using costumed actors and carefully arranged settings to reconstruct the milieux of some of the world’s most beloved artists. Serpent’s Chronicle represents a further evolution of ...

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Overview


The story of Adam and Eve powerfully retold in photographs, from an unexpected viewpoint

With his last book, Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists, Neil Folberg - already well known as a photographer of landscape and architecture - took his work in a surprising, and successful, new direction, using costumed actors and carefully arranged settings to reconstruct the milieux of some of the world’s most beloved artists. Serpent’s Chronicle represents a further evolution of Folberg’s interest in staged photography: here, the images form a continuous narrative, namely, the story of Adam and Eve, as seen through the eyes of the Serpent. For this ambitious exercise in pictorial storytelling, acted by modern dancers and set in a wild Mediterranean valley, Folberg draws upon the full range of his artistic resources as a photographer in color and black and white, and of the landscape, the human figure, and even the night sky; the result, according to ARTnews, is a series of “lush depictions” that use “subtle anachronism, metaphor, and theatricality to memorable effect.”

To memorable effect and, one might add, in a spirit of serious spiritual inquiry; Folberg’s imaginative retelling of the story, based on an ancient oral tradition and accompanied by a poetic text, addresses the profound questions inherent in the biblical account. For instance, how could there be a state of paradise with only one human inhabitant? And how could conflict be avoided if there were two? Presenting Adam and Eve as Everyman and Everywoman, in a time and place at once archetypal and contemporary, Folberg shows us that the story of Eden is the true prototype of every human relationship and endeavor.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Folberg's ambitious premise is to retell "the primal biblical myth of Adam and Eve's sin and their punishment, expulsion from the Garden." The series of staged photographs is shot from the snake's perspective: "No one sees me moving in the grass, though I see all. The grasses, trees and flowing wa-ter in my garden encompass all existence and every instant." Folberg's images are undoubtedly im-pressive, and he has exhibited work in galleries and museums around the world. The landscapes here, for example, taken in Rosh Pina, Israel, are lush yet haunting, inviting but foreboding. Tangled branches and dark, thick trunks create a weary sense of doom. Folberg (Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists) gets help from Shai Partush, Renana Rendi, and members of the Kibbutz Contem-porary Dance Company, who remain in character, gamely playing their parts. In general, however, the project's awkward aims fail to cohere with the reality of the photographs. The series becomes a photo-graphic document of inaccessible, esoteric performance art; it requires too much explanation, and in this case is difficult to fully appreciate. What the artist intends and what his audience perceives unfor-tunately prove dissimilar. With 37 duotone and full-color photos. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789211385
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 80
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Neil Folberg's previous publications include In a Desert Land (1987); And I Shall Dwell Among Them: Historic Synagogues of the World (1995); Celestial Nights (2001); and Travels with Van Gogh and the Impressionists (2007). His work has been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout the world, and is widely collected.
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