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Updated: Nov 30, 2023


As a photographer, Giuliano Bekor exercises a profoundly painterly sensibility. He uses the camera not to record the world but to re-invent it, employing color and form with such vitality and extravagance as to saturate the senses – not just the eyes, but by association the ears, the nose, the mouth and tongue, the skin (induced synesthesia, you might say). Yes, such stimulation borders on the erotic even as it lies behind the anesthetic gloss of the photographic paper; and the broad hints at human presence only reinforce the frisson of sensuality. But these images embrace the beholder’s body not through the evocation of the carnal, but through a conjuration of the opulent Bekor achieves with a formal vocabulary of curves and shadows, a palette as intense and complex as stained glass windows, and a pictorial suggestively that turns the human into the insect, the earthbound into the airborne.

What we witness in this new series of Bekor’s is a transformation of human into butterfly. The metamorphosis is thorough, as if Bekor had discovered a race of humanoid caterpillars and had documented their submersion into cocoon and re-emergence as winged dabs of brilliant hue and luminous tone. Seductive as it is, however, the fantasy is not the point, or at least raison d’être, for the series; it is, if anything, the excuse. Bekor indulges us in the color itself and its seeming kineticism, inventing a choreography of nature-creatures drunk on the rainbow. This he achieves by, in essence, re-photographing photographs: he projects his images of pure and patterned color onto the bodies of models posing and moving in his studio and capturing the shapes that emerge thus. The formula is simple, but, as is apparent, the results are elaborate and dazzling.

Bekor operates on several levels here, ranging from the narrative, as described, to the entirely abstract. Along this metamorphic trajectory, at once paralleling and embodying the butterfly’s natural growth, homo sapiens experiences a fairy-tale existence, or at least a dream, a delirium of re-invention that subjects dreamer to a ritual of purification and that transports viewer through all-encompassing hallucination – hallucination triggered by Bekor’s employment of an improbably vivid palette and impossibly fluid line.

For all his painterliness, Giuliano Bekor is not a “painterly photographer” in the manner of, say, the Pictorialists of the early 1900s or the abstract street photographers of mid-century. Availing himself of photographic techniques, digital and analog alike, that were barely imagined in the Modern era, Bekor works in a realm of hypervision that still seems foreign to the art and craft of photography – even as it electrifies the myriad pictures we pour over all day on our laptops and mobile phones. Bekor’s art doesn’t simply match the ferocious visual intensity of digital coloration, it ratchets up that intensity yet further, frees it from the Internet, and ripens it before your eyes – the eyes of the beholder.

Written by Peter Frank

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*** All images are property of the Artist and JM Art Management


JM Art Management

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