Recap: Zevel by Zachary Z. Handler

Last night Latela Curatorial hosted an exhibition opening for Zevel, a photography series by Zachary Z. Handler.

The event was organized in partnership with Dance Place and the Swedish Embassy for the March 2019 edition of DMV Creatives: a space for local DMV community to connect, mingle, and enjoy the multi-disciplinary arts in Brookland/Edgewood. The March 2019s iteration of DMV Creatives featured photographer/visual artist Zachary Z. Handler and dancer/performer Maria Naidu. Latela Curatorial co-hosted this event with Dance Place.Find the press release and information on the collaboration here.

 

Zachary Z. Handler 

/ˈze.vel/

זֶבֶל

noun

trash or garbage

anything useless or discarded

a worthless or disreputable person

As punishment, my mother used to drop me off at the driving range and these were the directions that came with the rubber cover I was to fit atop my set of neon colored golf clubs,  20 in. x 20 in., Archival pigment print, 2019

As punishment, my mother used to drop me off at the driving range and these were the directions that came with the rubber cover I was to fit atop my set of neon colored golf clubs, 20 in. x 20 in., Archival pigment print, 2019

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

The night I called my grandfather to tell him I finally got my hebrew name, “Zevel,” I used the landline phone in my father’s jewelry studio where he was making the ring pictured here in this series. My grandfather, an Orthodox Jew and president of his shul, was so upset that my Hebrew school teacher had given me a name that meant “trash” that he called the school himself to complain.

I have always been an avid collector of items that are typically discarded or left behind: the pull tab from the soda I shared with my failed first kiss, the instructions that came with my golf clubs I only used when my mother punished me by dropping me off at the hitting range or the receipt from my embarrassing sixteenth birthday dinner at Hooters restaurant where my father took me just to see how I reacted to the waitresses. I hold onto these things because they carry a certain  magic that runs throughout my life. I save them because they collectively document the history that I have made; souvenirs reminiscent of something I never want to forget.

These photographs survey my childhood and adolescent years through a playful balancing act of pop culture ephemera from the 1980s and 1990s stirred together with my own archive of mementos. Their presentation as modern reliquaries is meant to remind us of the innocence and joy that most of us experience during our formative years where we explore our multiple senses of self. They also showcase the sometimes painful realities of growing up othered.

Each still life is partnered by an intimate story which hints at the meaning assigned to the object(s). This is my way of offering a voyeuristic, vicarious touch on these experiences, from first love to first heartbreak and back again. These objects might evoke specific memories for the viewer, a mysterious cross between shared culture and the universal search for identity. “Zevel” is an opportunity to elevate the mundane to the mythical and reconsider our own treasure troves of tangible history.

Photographs of the installation: