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2 May 2013 - 24 May 2013 00:00


Prestigious Spanish festival will introduce Yaakov Israel’s collection of photographs called 'The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey' in Prague.

Czech Centre Madrid started to cooperate with the prestigious Spanish festival already in 2009. They started by working together on an exhibition of Jindřich Štýrský in Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid 2009 and in the following years there was always an important Czech curator invited to be a part of the festival jury (in the last two years it was the director of Czech Press Photo Daniela Mrázková and Vladimír Birgus). Czech photographer Jan Cág has also been awarded – in 2011 he won with his project 'Handicapped swimmers' in the humanitarian category of festival Ojo de Pez. In the following year, his exhibition was presented in FNAC Callao Madrid in cooperation with Czech Center and PhotoEspaña.

 The presentation of PhotoEspaña in Prague is a very good opportunity for Czech public to get an idea about the concept of the festival, which has already introduced over 900 exhibitions in major Spanish galleries and museums during its 15 years’ tradition. Every year, it attracts over 700 000 visitors to photography. This June will be again dedicated to Czech photography and, for the first time in Spain, photographic nudes from a famous Czech photographer František Drtikol will be

 Successful Israeli photographer and the winner of PhotoEspaña 2012 Yaakov Israel captures details of the Israeli everyday life with remarkable intimacy and emotions. 

 "According to an old Jewish tradition, the messiah will come on a white horse...”

Few years back, while taking some pictures by The Dead Sea, a man from Palestine passes me by on a donkey. It was at that moment when I realized that I met my messiah. It was this event that led me to start working on a new project that I named ‘The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey’". 

 The author used these words to describe the first thought that lead to the realization of this unique exhibition. The visitors will be able to see some unusual places of Israel through the eyes of a man who tried to capture his country in true colors – as it really looks like. 

 Along with the exhibition of Yaakov Israel, an exhibition called LEOPOLDO POMÉS / CARLOS SAURA: RETRATOS will also be opened. Itinera PHE will introduce the selection of 40 photographs taken by the authors in the course of their careers from the 1950s until today. It is a series of portraits of famous people but also of complete strangers. Both authors belong to the same generation, received many awards and also managed to surpass the borders of their profession. Whereas Leopoldo Pomés connected art and advertisement photography, Carlos Saura became one of the most prominent figures of world cinematography.

 Both exhibitions will be launched by the art director of La Fabrica and also curator of the exhibitions, Oliva María Rubio, and the director of Czech Center Madrid, Věra Zátopková. 


The lecture by Carlos Saura for the public: 

2.5., 6 pm, Instituto Cervantes, Na Rybníčku 536/6, Praha 2

Hosted by Jesus Ruiz Mantilla

 Simultaneous translation arranged

 Free admission



As referred by Jewish tradition, the Messiah (the Prophet) will arrive riding on a white donkey.


A few years ago, while I was taking photographs near the Dead Sea, a Palestinian man road past me on his white donkey.

After having developed this plate, I realized that I had found my Messiah: this encounter brought me to initiate the body of work entitled “The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey”.

The American tradition of the great photographic journeys served as a blueprint for the initial phase of the “quest”: with the definitive difference that in such a small country the size of the territory in which my hunt was pursued would have shaped my proceedings. A condensed experience: what otherwise in the documentary photography genre spans over months of continuous traveling, was confronted with a territory in which no matter what destination I had chosen, it would have lead my home by midnight at the latest. Then, as I found myself passing through the same places over and over again, the personal identity of my project was revealed. I had to let go of the idea of narrating the physical journey itself, but rather concentrate on the intimate, emotional reactions to those places, how I was reacting to the occasional encounters with people and sceneries, and how they appeared to revealed and lost at the same time, as if they where part of a scene that was ever changing or not changing at all

As my “Messanger” revealed himself, the search for a deeper understanding of my country and what defines me as an Israeli became an urge to look for the in-between places, the non-usual. Suddenly details called my attention as I waited for hours for the meaning to reveal itself, or pushed me away, puzzled. But in the end I had to hold it, I cannot let go until the detail is made mine, until the allusive and enigmatic find their place in my understanding of what I deem as authentic and real.

The “Quest” is an attempt to relay a personal take of the Israeli reality with a broader sense of belonging to the global human collectivity.

Because here the evidence of the past are so strangely intertwined with the marks of the present and the questions about our future: sometimes it is possible to see all this revealed in front of one´s eye, and all at the same time.

Part of my identity as Israeli is to question everything, not to take anything for granted, to show the tensions that consistently exist, to convey the truth behind the construction of reality.

Religious, social aspects filter into everyday life and their meanings are exposed as the journey moves on. Jewish missionaries, lost souls and individuals living in the fringes of society come together to form this landscape of humanity.



Born in 1974 in Jerusalem.

B.F.A with honors from the Department of Photography at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (2002).

Solo shows: OSLO 8 Gallery, Basel. The Open Museum of Photography. Haifa Museum of Art. 

Group shows: “The Object of Zionism | Architecture of Statehood in Israel 1948-73”, Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel. 'Building a Place', the P6 Group and Critical Landscape Photography, the Rubin Museum, Tel-Aviv. 'Dreary Structures, Dreamy Structures', the Ashdod Art Museum, Ashdod. 'APPROACHES': First International Meeting of Photography Centers, Centro Andaluz de la Fotografía, Almeria.

His photographs have been published in magazines and newspapers amongst them PRIVATE Magazine (France), A5 Magazine, Block Magazine, de Volkskarant - Observatorium (The Netherlands), Haaretz.

His first Monograph was recently published by Schilt Publishing from Amsterdam.

Winner of Descubrimientos PHE12 (PHotoEspaña, International Festival of Photography and Visual Art).


Rytířská 31
110 00 Prague 1


From: 2 May 2013
To: 24 May 2013 00:00


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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