Serpent's Chronicle

Neil Folberg. Abbeville, $29.95 (80p) ISBN 978-0-7892-1138-5
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.)
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 05/01/2013
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