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.
29 April – 15 June 2015
6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3ET
London—Pace London is honoured to present its first solo exhibition of the work of Michal Rovner. Panorama will be staged at 6 Burlington Gardens from 29 April to 15 June 2015.
Since 2004, Pace New York has held four exhibitions of Rovner’s work, which included her renowned projections on stone and paper as well as several of her large scale projections. In the last exhibition in New York, Topography, the artist unveiled her first multi-screen works using new LCD technology, specifically customized for her.
In Panorama, Rovner’s evolved and articulated works continue to explore this medium. These large-scale, multi-screen works combine her signature human figures with the landscape elements which she has been exploring for the last two years. The brooding soulful expression of the human and natural worlds is intertwined through the use of increasingly bold abstraction. Panorama evokes Rovner’s themes of human interaction, dislocation and the persistence of history, while creating a new level of immediacy by further removing the narrative to its barest and most urgent elements.
Since first showcasing her video work at her Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective in 2002, Rovner has pioneered the use of the moving image as a non-narrative, non-cinematic medium for the creation of painterly images and installations which, like painting and sculpture, conjure the timeless realities in a way the narrative arts cannot. Rovner's discovery that the moving image need not be tied to a sense of beginning, middle and end, and instead may exist in a constant state of the present has opened up the possibilities of video for the 21st century. Since her landmark exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2003, Rovner has expanded her innovations in many directions. Backward, into the historical realm defined by the ancient stones she used as both medium and context; and forward into technological systems that allow for novel expression of her imagery.
Adding painting qualities and gestural “brushstrokes” to video recordings of real-life situations, the new work respond to Rovner’s sense of disjointed reality.
“I’m looking at a newspaper, I’m watching television. I want to know, I need to know what is going on in the world. I see details of a reality that is worrisome. Every war is shown, every major act of violence is shown, but you only get a detail. Everything is shown, but you never really see it.” Michal Rovner, March 2015.
Highlights of the exhibition include Array, a work where Rovner’s fascination with archaeology confronts cyclical histories. Images of a black and white field mirror the texture of a drawing, a sketched diagram or an enlarged newspaper print. The human figures, organized in rows, repeat their movements, moving without advancing, in barren fields ploughed with dark lines.
Kalaniyot (Anemone) reveals the painterly qualities of this new body of work with its gestural lines that verge on obscuring the figures moving about in the background. Rovner creates an allusive tension as its deep red hues conjure images of a field of flowers and the aftermath of an upheaval.
The eight-panel work Trails resembles large sheets of paper with a panoramic drawing of a weave of paths. The human figures that navigate across the screen in different and seemingly infinite directions are woven into, and in some cases pulled down, by a black current that sweeps across the work.
Abandoning any sense of narrative, Rovner is displacing her figures in fragmented sites. Time, as well, seems disrupted, like an event without a beginning or an end. These abstract, painterly video works explore reflections of a reality that is tough, enigmatic and troubling.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Michal Rovner’s (b. 1957, Israel) work in video, sculpture, drawing, sound and installation 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.
Rovner’s video installations have been exhibited at the Tate Gallery, the Stedelijk Museum, LVMH Headquarters, and YadVashem. Rovner lives and works in New York and Israel. Rovner has been commissioned to create a video response for the Canary Wharf station of the new Crossrail line of the London Tube. Scheduled to open in 2018, Rovner’s installation will fill the station’s elevator shafts, and, consistent with her other work, will channel the transitory nature of the space, featuring masses of people moving across the multi-panel work installation. Rovner was also recently commissioned to design the set for a production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, which premiered at the Teatro San Carlo—the world’s oldest opera house—in Naples in December 2014.
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour interviewed Michal Rovner about the artist’s exhibition Panorama at Pace London. In the interview, Rovner discusses themes, techniques and images in the exhibition, the sociological undercurrents that inform her practice, and the role of artists. She says that artists can “give you another viewpoint, maybe a fresh viewpoint, of a reality.” The full interview is accessible here.
VIDEO: Michal Rovner speaks to Pace President Marc Glimcher about the artist’s Pace London exhibition. Panorama is on view at 6 Burlington Gardens, London, ground floor gallery through June 15
NAPLES-Passaggi/Passages, Michal Rovner's permanent Video Fresco at Stazione Municipio, Naples, will be inaugurated in June 2015. Rovner is currently completing her permanent installation in the largest urban art project in Europe: MN Metropolitana, Napoli. The 37 x 5 meter plastered and hand-painted wall with projection, engages the site's (subway station) function as a transit hub as well as the many layers of history embedded within the place. Stazione Municipio was designed by Archit