Nude bodies painted white, faces turned away from the viewer: this is how Nadav Kander (*1961 in Israel) photographed the sitters in his latest series. Accessories are minimal, as is the aesthetic, yet at the same time the arrangement makes the mostly voluptuous bodies seem baroque.
One is reminded of the portraits of Elizabeth I with their white lead “masks.” In Kander’s precisely lit images, with their exquisite colors, white mice run across white skin, a small bird seems tiny perched next to an odalisque. Red hair plays a role, flowing down over doll-like bodies as if it had a life of its own.
Despite the abundance of flesh on display, the images do not have a superficial sense of the erotic. The lack of eye contact and the white makeup function as barriers, and the massiveness of the limbs recalls the works of Hans Bellmer or Lucian Freud. Like them, Kander offers simulacra of sensuality and questions our images of the human body as well as the concept of beauty itself.