New York • Varanasi • Napoli

Michael Ackerman

Homecoming is a celebration of time. The ultimate expression of a circular art.

Homecoming is the motion of time fulfilling itself, eternally.

Likewise, the monkey on the wire, the horses in the fog or the little girl on a trail seen in the photographs “came home”. Home being a unique and infallible imaginary space.

Michael Ackerman’s photography is the art of time and its mystery.

It is about remote time that bursts into the present, as in the images of animals, of a deep affection between species rising from an ancient memory, a deep longing for union and freedom.

It is about instantaneous time, as in the faces of these stars of the street illuminated by the light of dusk and the light of dawn.

And it is about foreboding time, as in the photographs of underground prophets rising from the darkness of the city, wonderful and sacred figures, struck by glimpses of light from another world, from a time to come.

Varanasi and New York come around as two different stories of the same rite, of the same mystery that takes place before our eyes: prophecies and legends no less real than the city one can see and touch.

This is the extraordinary fact about Homecoming: it is before us, at every moment, the possibility of finding time, of losing it, opening it, following it. Michael Ackerman’s pictures all tell of an ever-present possibility, of a poetic act of deep affection, emotion and sympathy for people and their stories that come and go, for hard lived lives and fragile hopes.

Everyone here delivers a time that resonates, opens a fold in our memory and shoots an arrow straight to the heart of our imagination, awakening it.

Napoli is beyond imagination and yet is the place of this rite of time. It makes sense to remove it from the representation and putting it in the title of the exhibition, as it is in the absence of any iconography that Napoli becomes a threshold, a space of possibility where cities and stories that have never passed here become understandable. Instantaneously.

As much as a place makes instant sense the moment we realize we are finally back home.


Laura Lieto











Artist statement


I’m quite sure I became a photographer at age 18 because of my personal and ancestral history of uprooting. Photography has been a new language, a voice and a way to connect with a humanity that is often fragile and vulnerable. It is an exploration of places and people that are deeply layered, haunted and transformed. I have never been sure of home. I was born in Israel, grew up in New York and now live with my wife and daughter in Berlin. I’ve always felt that I’m an outsider and I feel an allegiance with other outsiders, and with landscapes, cityscapes, and animals that embody that spirit. I am driven by a need to see beyond surfaces and facades. In a way, to see the unseen. Homecoming is impossible, but the search is never ending. There are places where I love to be, where I feel connected, where it’s a pure pleasure to exist and lose myself in (New York, Varanasi, Napoli among others). Places where I’ve felt a little less alien. Photography is an act of profound recognition. When I take a picture I have the brief illusion to belong. M.A.