Ori Gersht The Clearing

3 Nov 2007 - 20 Jan 2008
Slide show: 
Ori Gersht, Stills, 2008
"The Mountain"
Ori Gersht, Stills, 2008
Ori Gersht, Stills, 2008

This exhibition brings together the film, The Forest and a series of photographs by the Israeli-born, British-based artist Ori Gersht. The genesis for this project was Gersht’s interest in exploring landscapes embedded with both personal and historic resonance.

The works were produced in the forest surrounding Kolomyia, Ukraine, where some of Gersht’s relatives found a harsh haven from Nazi persecution. Much mythologised and idealised in the period of the Enlightment, epitomised in the German Romantic painter Casper David Friedrich’s works, the area was to bear witness to appalling atrocities during World War II.

The Forest invites you to enter what initially appears to be a sylvan idyll, bathed in dappled pools of light. However as the pace of the film increases, a number of trees mysteriously start to fall in front of the camera, crashing to earth in an overwhelming cacophony of breaking timbers and branches. Afterwards silence and tranquillity return as if the act of destruction had not happened at all.

The Forest is shown alongside a series of new photographs taken in the surrounding landscapes, which combine images bleached out through long exposure and movement.

Gersht’s photographic processes uniquely incorporate specific environmental conditions with an awareness of memory, experience, and embedded history. With an understanding of the chemical and physical limitations of film, of which he is never shy to push the boundaries, Gersht’s works often turn out to be a more dimensional and resonant vehicle for portraying meaning through the imprint of time, light and phenomena that expose the capacity and limitations of human memory as well.

Ori Gersht was born in Tel Aviv in 1967, studied at the Royal College of Art in London and has exhibited internationally since 1999. Solo exhibitions include Afterglow at the Art Now Room at Tate Britain, the Helena Rubenstein Pavilion for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv Museum, and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. Recent Group exhibitions include In Focus: Living History at Tate Modern in 2007, Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and Inside-Out, Contemporary Artists from Israel at MARCO, Vigo, Spain 2006.

The Clearing was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with The Photographer’s Gallery, with support from Arts Council England. With additional thanks to CRG Gallery, New York, Angeles Gallery, Los Angeles and Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv and Mummery & Schnelle, London.


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Image credit:
Fallen Rocks, Ori Gersht, 2005