Through photography, Itamar Freed, crafts hyper-realistic representations of portraits and landscapes. His ongoing body of work features habitats from across the globe, questioning the distinctions between the natural and artificial, real and manufactured. Images of landscapes, natural history museums, botanical gardens, zoos and the artist's studio are combined to create an array of fictitious places that exist only within the photographic frame. The encounter between the three territories – the wild, the cultured and the staged – creates intriguing scenarios and instigates questions around infinity, the future of aesthetics, culture, boundaries, and reality.
In his recent work, Freed considers man-made ‘natural’ landscapes within urban metropolis’s. These microcosms provide visitors with the embodied experience of foreign climates and vegetation, but through an artificial experience that is both similar, and yet vastly different, to the habitats which they aim to imitate. Such as, Jungle, which depicts the London Zoo’s ‘Living Rainforest’ exhibit merged with an image of the Amama rainforest in Australia. This fictitious scene is a metaphor of what constitutes “Nature” in our Anthropocene era: a hybrid of natural and human forces, where the artificial elements of the environment take on a greater role.
Similarly, the artwork titled Peacock synthesizes different angles of a Central Park Zoo exhibit. A single photographic frame features various bird species of differing origins and environments, which cannot be found inhabiting the same ecosystems naturally. A threshold between real and imagined is created, beyond the bounds of time and place, a dream-like space that could not exist in reality. For Freed, the images form an axis between painting and reality - comprising imagined narratives controlled by the artist, and the actual objects documented by the camera.