Michal Rovner’s (b. 1957, Israel) work in video, sculpture, drawing, sound, and installation reflects on the continuum of human experience. Her work defines an evocative language of abstraction, dealing with themes such as time, history, and science. While generally avoiding specific issues or events, Rovner’s work shifts between the poetic and the political, and between current time and historical memory, to explore questions of nature, identity, dislocation, and the fragility of human existence.
She has been exhibited in over 60 solo exhibitions including a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art, the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the Jeu de Paume, and the Louvre. In 2006, Rovner began a series of monumental structures titled “Makom” (Place), using stones from dismantled or destroyed Israeli and Palestinian houses from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Haifa, the Galilee, and the border of Israel and Syria. She worked with Israeli and Palestinian masons to construct new spaces encompassing history, memory, and time. In 2013, Rovner created the installation “Traces of Life” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum devoted to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered in the Shoah. In 2018, Celebrating Israel’s 70th Anniversary: Michal Rovner and Tal Shochat was exhibited at Nevada Museum of Art.
Pace is pleased to present Topography, an exhibition of new work by Michal Rovner. This will be the artist’s first show since her solo exhibition at Musée du Louvre, Paris in 2011. Topography will be on view at 508 West 25th Street from Thursday, November 8 through Saturday, December 22. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, November 7 from 6 to 8 PM.
Rovner’s work in video, sculpture, and installation creates a chain of associations, from the poetic to the political. Addressing issues of time and the human condition, she also touches on processes of archeology and science. In the new body of work presented in this exhibition, landscape replaces abstracted human figures as the building blocks for the artist’s work. The main images in the exhibition are cypress trees, stony hilltops, and bare, arid, harsh, and desolate landscapes where, from time to time, as in a scene following a cataclysm, groups of people wander in the void.
Many of Rovner's new works are projected on slabs of black limestone, connected in a way that highlights their separateness as well as their associations with archeology and fragmentation. The attachment and detachment creates an impression of something that has been disassembled and reassembled. The cypress tree, which is among the most ancient trees of the Mediterranean region, and is one of the classic symbols of the area's various cultures, is the most central element in Rovner’s new works. The artist writes, “On the one hand, the totemic cypress stands firmly planted in its place; on the other hand, its motion, its reaction to changing air currents, to the wind, activates the space and the works. It creates a sense of restlessness and expresses the constant physical, cultural and political fluctuations; soul and time fluctuations, like the shifting of the earth's tectonic plates.” - Yoram Verete, poet.
Michal Rovner (b. 1957, Israel) is an internationally renowned artist with work held in more than thirty of the most significant collections worldwide. In 2011, the Musée du Louvre in Paris presented Histoires, a solo exhibition of Rovner’s work in three parts. In the Cour Napoléon, Rovner, assisted by her team of Israeli and Palestinian stone masons, erected two monumental seventy and forty-ton stone structures entitled Makom II and Makom IV (Hebrew for “place”) from the stones of destroyed Israeli and Palestinian houses. The exhibition continued in the Louvre’s Department of Near Eastern Antiquities (in the rooms devoted to Syria, Jordan, and Palestine) and the medieval moat, where videos were projected directly onto the walls and ancient objects in the museum’s collection.
Rovner was recently invited to present a site-specific installation at the UNESCO world heritage site Mischanlage, (a former industrial plant once used to mix coal) in Essen for the Ruhr Triennale: International Festival of the Arts: 2012–2014. Her installation, entitled, Current, concluded on September 30, 2012. From November 15 through18, Rovner will present two video installations at the Narracje Festival in Gdansk, Poland.
Rovner’s work has been exhibited worldwide in over fifty solo exhibitions, including Fields at the Jeu de Paume, Paris, presented in collaboration with the Festival d'Autume in 2005 and Michal Rovner: The Space Between, a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York in 2002. Rovner represented Israel at the 50th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale with a solo exhibition entitled Against Order? Against Disorder?, in the Israeli Pavilion in 2003.
In 2005, Rovner’s site-specific, permanent twelve-meter-high video projection, Living Landscape, was inaugurated at Yad Vashem among others, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. Significant site specific video installations by the artist have also been presented at Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2012); LVMH Headquarters, Paris (2004); Chase Manhattan Bank, Park Avenue, New York (2000); and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1999), among others. Notable screenings of Rovner’s work include Notes (2001), a collaboration with composer Philip Glass featured at the Lincoln Center Festival 2001, New York, and the Barbican Theater, London, and Border (1997), which premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and was subsequently screened at more than a dozen major international venues including the Tate Gallery, London; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
In 2010, Rovner was honored with the Chevalier (Knight) Medallion of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France. The artist’s many accolades also include the Aviv Award, presented by the American Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF) in recognition for her achievements in the Arts, and the Tel Aviv Museum Award (1997); among numerous other grants, fellowships, and awards.
Rovner co-founded Tel Aviv’s Camera Obscura Art School for studies in photography, video, cinema and computer art in 1978. She studied cinema, television, and philosophy at Tel-Aviv University and received a B.F.A. in photography and art from the Bezalel Academy of Art in 1985. Rovner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2008.
Michal Rovner lives and works between New York City and a farm in Israel. She has been represented by Pace Gallery since 2003.
For more information about Michal Rovner: Topography, please contact Pace’s public relations department at 212.421.8987. For general inquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org; for reproduction requests, email email@example.com.
On the occasion of Michal Rovner's exhibition at 508 West 25th Street in New York, Art in America magazine sat down with Rovner for an interview about her new work and her recent show at the Louvre. Click here for the full interview.