Art inside and out

Appreciating beauty in everyday life is an integral part of photographer Matty Karp’s new exhibit.

October 20, 2014 21:16
3 minute read.
Matty Karp

An image from Matty Karp's exhibition. (photo credit: MATTY KARP)

Matty Karp has spent the past 10 years developing himself as a professional photographer.

He has participated in group exhibitions and won numerous awards, and he and his work have changed and evolved along the way. Now, he’s hosting his first solo exhibition, “Beauty Matters.”

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The concept behind “Beauty Matters” is simple: See beauty and appreciate it at face value. To achieve that goal, Karp will omit descriptions and explanations from his exhibition.

Those viewing the exhibition will see a short manifest at the entrance which will explain Karp’s decision, but other than that they will be left to draw their own conclusions about Karp’s work.

“I’m seeking immediate visual impact that doesn’t need any explanation,” Karp said. “I think that beauty doesn’t need any explanation because beauty is lost once you start explaining it.”

The 65-year-old Karp was born in Poland but moved to Israel with his parents when he was one. Professionally he was a venture capitalist, but he spent his spare time cultivating a passion for photography. He has been taking photos his whole life, but it wasn’t until 10 years ago that he began to develop photography more as a profession than a hobby. Now Karp is retired, and photography is his main interest.

Karp wants to get away from the modern trend of over-conceptualizing visual art. He sees people, intelligent, educated people, who go to museums and galleries and don’t enjoy what they see there. They feel estranged from the art and leave dissatisfied because their definition of beauty doesn’t match the definition they’re being given.

“The art world is talking more about aesthetics,” Karp said, “and the aesthetics become something degraded. In the art establishment they say that if a piece of art is not aesthetic, it’s not worthy, and I pity this trend. Art became very intellectualized.

My feeling is that it’s too intellectual for most people.”

Karp’s main goal as a photographer is to seek out and capture beauty, and he traveled the world to do so. The photos and videos in his exhibition come from religious sites in Jerusalem, cafes in Paris, the streets of Myanmar and Manhattan, the landscapes of South Carolina and the immigrants of Tel Aviv.

He captures the pain and love and apathy of strangers, and he manipulates time in his videos, giving us a new way to experience reality. He doesn’t cater to the artistic establishment with his work. He caters to the people who come to feel empathy for people they’ve never met and to see beauty in places they’ve never been.

“Beauty is emotional,” Karp said. “It’s an experience. You can explain love a hundred times, but you won’t actually experience it.”

“Beauty Matters” will be a new experience not only for the crowds who come to see it but for Karp as well. He had done group exhibitions with a more focused theme, but “Beauty Matters” contains a variety of art with a broad theme, and he felt this was the right time to host his first solo exhibition.

The exhibition was born from a simple, self-explanatory idea, and Karp’s hopes for what people will take away from his exhibit are just as simple.

“I hope they will enjoy it and love the things they see there,” he said.

Karp wants to bring emotion back to the world of visual art.

Too often these days, he said, artists tell people what they should feel when they look at a piece of art. Karp wants his art to speak for itself.

“I think that beauty is sublime,” he said. “Beauty elevates the soul.”

‘Beauty Matters’ runs until October 27 at the Jaffa Port Theater Hall. Daily hours are from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

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