Sprovieri and Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts, jsvcPROJECTS/London are pleased to announce the first solo gallery exhibition of international artist Esther Shalev-Gerz in London.
Recognised for her seminal investigation into public space and participatory art, Shalev-Gerz’s work presents an uncanny understanding of the invisible and the voids in between people, ideas, understanding and misunderstandings. Her photography and video installations explore the intertwinement of individual and collective memory and its construction in the present. There is hardly another artist to have developed such diverse strategies for making memory fragments and the traces of time visible and transforming them into histories than Shalev-Gerz. Born in Vilnius, she grew up in Israel and has been living and working in Paris since 1984. With the various elements of her artwork, THE LAST CLICK focuses on what has been a long serving agent in the construction of memory and the depiction of time – the camera at the end of its analogue era.
The exhibition presents THE LAST CLICK (2010/11) a video installation including film, photography and sculpture first commissioned by the Museum für Photographie Braunschweig – hometown of the famous Rollei Camera Company. The closing of the Rollei factory and offices in 2010 provided the raw material for this investigation, the end of their production signalling the end of the era of film as an artistic medium in favour of the digital revolution.
The museum at the artist’s request collected old analogue cameras from volunteers in the community and the idea brought two situations into a parallel structure capturing and describing them in different ways, the artist visited the factories which were being drained of human and mechanical presence, and at the same time invited the community who wanted to dispose of their cameras to share their stories and reflect on their last images. With this material she has made a video of the people with their cameras.
From here the artist developed a second part of the project letting the camera become a figure inside the deserted factory interiors, looking at the viewer in a variety of guises. Shalev-Gerz staged the camera as a character, teetering on the long legs of a tripod through the labyrinth of the old factory and offices. THE LAST CLICK interrogates relations between the conditions of a changing industry and the lives its products have affected and how this informs the articulation of memory, uncovering notions of industrialisation and progress, memory and human experience underscored by the photographic apparatus that has so defined representation in a moment of increased expectation for immediacy.
The exhibition will also present photographic works from DESCRIBING LABOR, a project presented at the Wolfsonian FIU in Miami, 2012 involving the selection by museum staff and trustees of historic artworks from the collection that depicted working figures. Shalev-Gerz invited people to explain why they chose their works before the camera, and they then placed these pieces somewhere in the museum storage, where they were photographed. The displacement of the objects is poignantly woven into a narrative structure that reveals as much about the individuals as it does about the works themselves. As philosopher Jacques Ranciere writes, “ ESG shows us that things never speak for themselves. They speak to us, that is to say, they tell us about the community that is formed between us through them…….albeit at the risk of approximation, to listen to their speech, to confront it with what our eyes see and with what our own words can say.”
Shalev-Gerz’s recent exhibitions and installations include a survey exhibition in Jeu de Paume, Paris, 2010, a retrospective in Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, 2012, a video, photography, sound and sculpture installation Describing Labor in the Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami, 2012, a solo-exhibition in the Belkin Art Gallery, UBC, Vancouver, 2013, a solo-exhibition in La Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, 2014. She participated in the Gothenburg International Biennale of Contemporary Art 2015 as well as in the 1st Asia Biennial/5th Guangzhou Triennial 2015-2016. In January she had a solo-exhibition in Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen. She will open on April 29th a major solo-exhibition in WASSERMAN PROJECTS, Detroit. On May 21st will be inaugurated in Geneva her permanent installation in public space Les Inséparables that will be accompanied by an exhibition of her installation Inseparable Angels – The Imaginary House for Walter Benjamin, 2010, in the MAMCO. www.shalev-gerz.com