Barricades, Pavel Wolberg's photography

Pavel Wolberg Barricades

A Palestinian protestor watches at Israeli border police as he stands on an olive tree during riots in the Palestinian village of Nilin in the West Bank, 2009.

The barricades are the instant, moment-to-moment, concretization of the separation of lives, identities, and ways of being.

Palestinian boy during riots near the Palestinian village of Nebi Saleh at the West Bank, 2010.

Palestinian protestors during riots in East of Jerusalem the Al Aqtza mosque is seen on the background, 2009.

Palestinian women in front of Israeli border police as they crossing the Qalandia check point from the West Bank to Jerusalem to pray in Al Aqtza mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, 2010.

Protestor running from tear gas during riots in the Palestinian village of Nilin in the West Bank, 2010.

Riots in the Palestinian village of Nilin in the West Bank, 2009.

Ukrainian pair of lovers on a barricade near the Maidan square in Kiev, 2014.

Ukrainian civilians stand behind a barricade as they watch at Riot police lines near the Maidan square in Kiev, 2014.

Ukrainian women dressed like angels confront pro-Russian riot police near the Maidan square in Kiev, 2014.

Artist's Statement

My series of panoramic photographs from Israel, the West Bank and Ukraine, shows barricades and dividing fences, separating walls and improvised borders as living signifiers of conflicts and disputes. This is a photographic journey which focuses on two contemporary conflicts: the Israeli-Palestinian and the Russian-Ukrainian, both are connected to my own personal identity: Israeli and Russian. 

Both places are controlled by human need for constantly formulating, defining, and separating spaces of living, either of nations, communities. It is a personal project that started as a photojournalistic work and has developed into a research of landscape imagery and its transformation during territorial disputes into an emblematic disordered space.

The barricades are architectural elements that instantly appear and change existence around them. They are made out of tiles, barrels, blocks, and sacks of sand against which human beings seem to blur And become insignificant.

The series centers on the relationship between the people who take part in the conflict but we cannot see their faces vis-a-vis the horizon which is formed in panoramic landscape scenery. I chose for the project the panoramic framework since it reminds me of the Western film genre when the Cinemascope format has first appeared. In this format, the relations between the figures, the plot and the space where the action takes place to create a moment of an epic dimension. In the instance the photo is taken, the human figure loses his or her individual identity and into a symbolic representation in space and time. This is the moment when mythologies of war and conflicts are created.

The horizon gives an illusion of the end of space and the limit of the photographs. I use it to examine the tension between the supposed endlessness of the landscape and the confined spaces created by the various kinds of barricades. It is no longer a passive visual terrain but an instrument of reformation of political and social reality. These new disordered spaces of conflict are the aesthetic and existential center of the images, which spread in front of our eyes as mythical, primordial, sceneries.

The barricades are the instant, moment-to-moment, concretization of the separation of lives, identities, and ways of being. It is here that political, social and above all, religious beliefs are conjured up into a violent confrontation frontline made out of piles and multitudes. These barricades become turbulent focal points in the landscape where space is constantly reshaped and re-conquered and always remains chaotic.

About the photographer


1966 Leningrad, Russia



Based in

Tel Aviv, Israel

About Pavel Wolberg

Pavel Wolberg is a photographic artist and a former Photojournalist. Major museum solo exhibitions have taken place at Gemak Museum, Hag, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, Ashdod Art Museum and Herzliya Museum of Art among others. Pavel has participated in numerous group exhibitions at institutions including the 52 Venice Biennale, the Martin-Gropius-Bau, KIM-Kunst Im Tunnel, Düsseldorf, La collection Antoine de Galbert, La Maison Rouge, Paris, Jewish Museum, Amsterdam, Passage de Retz, Paris, Krefeld Museum, Exit Art, New York and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His work is represented in prominent public and private collections, among them the TAMA museum of modern art, Tel Aviv, foundation Carmignac, Fond National d’Art Contemporain, France, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The Jewish Museum, NYC, La Maison Rouge, Fondation A. de Galbert, Paris and private collections. Pavel received the Leon Constantiner Prize for Israeli Photography in 2005 and the Sony World Photography Awards in 2011.