Pace Gallery is pleased to present Evolution—a solo show dedicated to the work of pioneering artist Michal Rovner—in New York following its celebrated exhibition in Palo Alto earlier this year. On view at 537 West 24th Street from May 4 through June 23, 2018, with an opening reception for the artist held during Frieze New York Week on Thursday, May 3, from 6 - 8 p.m., Evolution features videos and prints that mark a return to Rovner’s unique, abstracted language. The exhibition in New York will include many of the highlights from the Palo Alto iteration, as well as new works and a major video installation.
Rovner’s last exhibition at Pace in New York in 2016, Night, featured images of jackals from encounters in dark fields. Her encounters with darkness generate nocturnal images, capturing moments that are immersed in shadows. The works reverberate an unfamiliar dimension, a sense of fear and alertness, primal powers and the night within us. A central part of Evolution is a powerful video work Nilus (2018)—a nocturnal silhouette of a jackal, stretched across two screens, as across two pages of a book, whose space is filled with dense lines of miniature human figures. The unique nocturnal light, something in the shape of the vigilant animal, possibly exposed to danger, the glimmer of its hollow eyes in which human figures appear occasionally to be reflected – all of these elements along with the dense lines of the flickering “text,” create a disturbing feeling that something is amiss, perhaps the creature is artificial, maybe a cloned jackal, maybe a hybrid. Duality and duplication recur across several aspects of this work, and are especially prominent in the double movement: the sporadic movement of the jackal, and the repetitive movement of the human figures, which appear to be marking themselves, or signaling, or calling out for help.
In her return to her language of abstraction, which consists of duplicated patterns of human movements, Rovner has intensified this language. The human figures have lost basic contours, to the point that their humanity is sometimes hard to identify; gone are the landscapes in which the figures move; the movement itself, which apparently repeats itself, has become more wild; the lines, structures and patterns change more rapidly; florescent-like red flashes appear, that call to mind the emergency, danger and alarm lights that permeate our world.
Across the works in the exhibition, Rovner presents us with the evolution of these hieroglyphic-like, narrative-less “texts.” At first they are much more representative, clearer, relatively stable; then they become more rapid, fleeting, hard to grasp, ambiguous, alluding to the intensity and communication overload of a reality that allows us to see everything, from the electronic innards of a computer to brain synapses, a reality of barcodes, control panels, matrix charts, microchips, and the like. While the lines of text still invariably feature human figures, human signs and gestures; reading them is becoming harder and harder. In the end, only the writing remains, as a signifier without the signified, striving to be seen, to sparkle, flash, stand out, as if the ultimate representation of human consciousness is signaling for help.
Michal Rovner (b. 1957, Israel) is known for her multimedia practice of drawing, printmaking, video, sculpture, and installation. Her work has and continues to define a new and evocative language of abstraction, broadly addressing themes of history, humanity and time. While generally avoiding specific issues or events, Rovner’s work shifts between the poetic and the political, and between current time and historical memory, raising questions of identity, dislocation, and the fragility of human existence. She records and erases visual information, obscuring specifics of time and place through gestural, abstract qualities and creating works with universal threads.
Rovner has been the subject of over seventy solo exhibitions held at venues including The Art Institute of Chicago (1993); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1994); Tate Gallery, London (1997); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri (2001); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002); and Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma (Al Mattatoio), Rome (2003). In 2003, Rovner was selected to represent Israel at the Venice Biennale where she presented the exhibition Against Order? Against Disorder?. In 2005, Fields was presented at Jeu de Paume in collaboration with Festival d’Automne à Paris, before traveling to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2006. Other major monographic exhibitions have been held at L’Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2011); Musée du Louvre, Paris, (2011); Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico (2014); and the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (2015).
Rovner was the recipient of the Tel Aviv Museum Award in 1997 and received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2008. Her work is held in numerous collections worldwide, including The Art Institute of Chicago; Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim, Poland; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; The British Museum, London; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Jewish Museum, New York; Lambert Art Collection, Geneva; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma (Al Mattatoio); The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Authority, Jerusalem, among others.
Michal Rovner has been represented by Pace since 2003.
Pace is a leading contemporary art gallery representing many of the most significant international artists and estates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Under the leadership of President and CEO Marc Glimcher, Pace is a vital force within the art world and plays a critical role in shaping the history, creation, and engagement with modern and contemporary art. Since its founding by Arne Glimcher in 1960, Pace has developed a distinguished legacy for vibrant and dedicated relationships with renowned artists. As the gallery approaches the start of its seventh decade, Pace’s mission continues to be inspired by our drive to support the world’s most influential and innovative artists and to share their visionary work with people around the world.
Pace advances this mission through its dynamic global program, comprising ambitious exhibitions, artist projects, public installations, institutional collaborations, and curatorial research and writing. Today, Pace has eight locations worldwide: three galleries in New York; one in London; one in Palo Alto, California; one in Beijing; one in Hong Kong; and one in Seoul. Pace will open its second gallery in Hong Kong, as well as a new space in Geneva in March 2018; and will open a new flagship gallery in New York, anticipated for completion in fall 2019. In 2016, Pace joined with Futurecity to launch Future\Pace – an international cultural partnership innovating multidisciplinary projects for art in the public realm.
Pace artist Michal Rovner has been awarded the 2018 EMET Prize in Arts & Culture. The EMET Prize is an annual prize given for excellence in academic and professional achievements that have far reaching influence and significant contribution to society. The prize is awarded by the A.M.N. Foundation for the Advancement of Science, Art and Culture in Israel. “The EMET Prize is awarded to Michal Rovner for her outstanding pioneering achievements in the field of photography in the broad sense o