In her sympathetic pictures of performers and wrestlers from small towns in Ukraine, Eastern Europe, England, and Israel, Michal Chelbin offers a glimpse into worlds both strange and familiar. The settings, costumes, and even some of the subjects themselves may seem exotic, but her portraits look beyond that to capture a transcendent sense of individual character.
Chelbin's most frequent subjects are children and adolescents, yet her work encompasses a mix of generations. As Leah Ollman notes, "The atmosphere falls somewhere between public and private. There's a slight titillation of having personal access to performers who, typically, are experienced only remotely. Most immediate, though, are the visual contrasts between young and old, large and small, innocence and experience."
Born in Haifa, Israel, Michal Chelbin has lived in Brooklyn since 2006. Her work has appeared in solo shows in Israel, Los Angeles, and New York, and in group shows internationally, and is held in many collections, including Palazzo Forti, Verona, Italy; Sir Elton John Collection; and Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
Courtesy of Aperture Foundation