Home Sweet Home

By Rubi Lebovitch

My “Home Sweet Home” project is a series of photos of domestic scenes gone wrong. They can go wrong in many ways: they can seem absurd or twisted, arouse fear, or even horror. They show everyday household objects or activities in ways that reveal their senselessness, and their uselessness.

I get my ideas from the simplest everyday objects at home and on the street. There are so many weird and funny things that people do, collect or leave behind them that you can get inspired by. People’s oddities are the most interesting and inspiring things for me. Sometimes weird scenes I spot on the street become the inspiration for photos. I transform the outdoor scene into an indoor scene.

In many ways, “Home Sweet Home” was born seven years ago along with my twin boys. During their first years of life, I found myself spending a lot more time at home than I used to. When they grew up a little, and started playing and using household items in surprising ways, I began seeing new possibilities at every corner of the house.

Although the presence of people is evident in almost every picture, only a few of my photos show real people. And even when there are people in the photos, the focus remains on the object, and the person remains in the background. The people in the photos are seemingly occupied with common habits, but the objects almost come to life and take over the scene.

“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod, Israel
“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod, Israel
“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod, Israel
“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Janco Dada Museum in Ein Hod, Israel

Dividing Line: On the Work of Rubi Lebovitch

By Eran Bar-Gil

It all happens at home. In the sheltered, secluded place. Quietly undermining its serene foundations, creating a sense of foreboding. A woman is knitting a sweater directly onto her body, wool threads scattered on the floor around her. Or perhaps she is unraveling it. Her serene demeanor and the mundane, domestic nature of her activity are contrasted with the impossibility of her actions.

It all happens at home. In the sheltered, secluded place. Quietly undermining its serene foundations, creating a sense of foreboding.

Another woman, no less serene, places her hands into the toaster as if they were two slices of bread. Precisely at home, in the protected, private place—terror lurks: in the kitchen, in the living room, in the bedroom, in the familiar and intimate corners. Terror hovers in the children’s room where two cribs rest side by side, two cribs made up with clean sheets, and above them ripped posters that seem intentionally damaged, darkening the atmosphere. In spite of these inviting, made-up cribs, it is clear that no one would put their children to sleep in such a disturbing room. Scanning the room in an attempt to understand what is so unnerving about it, one discovers that the cribs’ safety bar faces the wall. It cannot be used.

Precisely at home, in the protected, private place—terror lurks: in the kitchen, in the living room, in the bedroom, in the familiar and intimate corners.

Sometimes the sense of the uncanny is created by extremities (a picture hanging on the wall, surrounded by endless nail holes representing failed prior attempts; a never-ending bunch of keys) and sometimes by unacceptable combinations (a bookshelf in which all the books are facing the wall or a bouquet of flowers made up of stems alone). Lebovitch takes things out of context and builds a different connection to create a sense of impending doom—like a scarecrow in the kitchen.

Lebovitch takes things out of context and builds a different connection to create a sense of impending doom.

The scarecrow, resembling a homeless person, is positioned in the center of the house as both the thing itself and its complete opposite. It provides a note of opposition and protest, against the backdrop of a threatening sky. The dining table tied up in chains has also been rendered useless. And like many other domestic objects treated by Lebovitch, it undergoes personification and represents the absent occupants of the house (such as the babies absent from the children’s room), chained to themselves, to their family, to this home.

When the occupants of the house do appear, they are as grotesque as the chained table: wound up in toilet paper, eating spaghetti off an oversize tray, placing hands inside a toaster. They are neutralized—like the couch that is tipped up at an angle. What is left for a person wrapped up in toilet paper? To what purpose does a man peep out through a keyhole in a door taken off its hinges and installed in the center of the room, at what can be seen more clearly outside the boundaries of the door frame?

Everything happens at home. All arrows are directed inward, focusing on the obvious that has been removed from its milieu.

Everything happens at home. All arrows are directed inward, focusing on the obvious that has been removed from its milieu. Multiplied, exaggerated. The movement between logical and illogical, serenity and terror, is also expressed by the dividing line, a dichotomy, splitting the visual space into its opposites: a tidy living room that is clean and homely, bordering on a a temporary, disordered wall made of carton that looks like it is about to collapse; a chunk of fresh butter placed next to a melted one; toy horses in the daytime next to the same horses that have been cut up into strange shapes at night.

The movement between logical and illogical, serenity and terror, is expressed by the dividing line, splitting the visual space into its opposites.

At times the dividing line, symmetric and clear, passes through the center of the image, such as in the works that are split into two (the images of the butter and the horses); at times the line crosses at a diagonal, (the tipped-up couch). At other times the line is thematic, ideological, a line that separates the image into two parts: the acceptable, the logical, as opposed to the surrealistic, the ironic, and the illogical (a carpet whose insides have been ripped out).

The home has many keys. Some belong to the man who stands in the undefined space of home, with a bunch of keys hanging, as expected, from his waist. But his set of keys is so long it reaches the floor; it becomes a burden to him, pulling on the hem of his pants like a root that shoots out of the floor and grips his leg, dragging him down. The keys, like tree rings, reveal time. They reveal the time of this man, standing there in the house. We know, even without seeing his face, that he is despondent.

Rubi Lebovtich is a photographer, living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel. He was born in 1974. His MFA in Art and photography was received from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. His work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. His Home Sweet Home series was shown this year in several galleries in the US, including the NewSpace Center for Photography in Portland, the Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins.




Rubi’s work received several prizes, including prizes from Center Santa Fe, Kaunas Photo Star, Japan Media Art Festival and the Morton Mandel Fund. His work is held in many public institutions such as the Houston Museum of Modern Art, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins and Leumi bank, and also in private collections in Israel and abroad.






Eran Bar-Gril s one of Israel’s most important writers, multiply talented as a novelist, short story writer, poet, scriptwriter, musician, reporter and book critic. He has won major literary prizes for several of his eleven published works which include five novels, four volumes of poetry and two volumes of short stories. His literary style is significant, using multiple narratives in different time periods (HORSESHOE AND VIOLIN – 2006 Bernstein Prize winner), with a Rashomon effect (MAGIC AND LIES – 2011 ACUM Prize winner and Sapir Prize long-list nominee), by gradually morphing a marginal character into a protagonist (IRON), as well as a more linear approach where each narrative voice gives perception of the other (BRIDGE – 2007 ACUM Prize winner).




He completed his highly praised literary-musical trilogy (1:1/ Iron/Happiness) in 2012, which he performs with at music festivals throughout Israel. He received a BA in comparative literature and psychology from Bar-Ilan University and studied literature in the graduate program at Tel Aviv University. He lives in the village of Mishar, Israel, with his wife and three sons. On 2014 Eran Bar-Gil won the Prime minister prize for his literary work.

“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Gallery 39 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Gallery 39 in Tel Aviv, Israel.
“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Gallery 39 in Tel Aviv, Isra
“Home Sweet Home” exhibition at Gallery 39 in Tel Aviv, Isra

Rubi Lebovitch

Rubi Lebovtich is a photographer, living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel. He was born in 1974. His MFA in Art and photography was received from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design. His work has been shown in various solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world. His Home Sweet Home series was shown this year in several galleries in the US, including the NewSpace Center for Photography in Portland, the Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins.




Rubi’s work received several prizes, including prizes from Center Santa Fe, Kaunas Photo Star, Japan Media Art Festival and the Morton Mandel Fund. His work is held in many public institutions such as the Houston Museum of Modern Art, the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins and Leumi bank, and also in private collections in Israel and abroad.

Eran Bar-Gil

Eran Bar-Gil s one of Israel’s most important writers, multiply talented as a novelist, short story writer, poet, scriptwriter, musician, reporter and book critic. He has won major literary prizes for several of his eleven published works which include five novels, four volumes of poetry and two volumes of short stories. His literary style is significant, using multiple narratives in different time periods (HORSESHOE AND VIOLIN – 2006 Bernstein Prize winner), with a Rashomon effect (MAGIC AND LIES – 2011 ACUM Prize winner and Sapir Prize long-list nominee), by gradually morphing a marginal character into a protagonist (IRON), as well as a more linear approach where each narrative voice gives perception of the other (BRIDGE – 2007 ACUM Prize winner).

He completed his highly praised literary-musical trilogy (1:1/ Iron/Happiness) in 2012, which he performs with at music festivals throughout Israel. He received a BA in comparative literature and psychology from Bar-Ilan University and studied literature in the graduate program at Tel Aviv University. He lives in the village of Mishar, Israel, with his wife and three sons. On 2014 Eran Bar-Gil won the Prime minister prize for his literary work.