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.
Geneva—Pace is honoured to present the gallery’s first exhibition of Michal Rovner’s work in Geneva, at Quai des Bergues, from 30 January to 18 April 2019. The exhibition will feature recent works and follow its 2018 presentation at Pace NY. The exhibition will reflect on the theme of evolution in the representations of text.
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. 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.
In her oeuvre, Rovner records elements from different places and erases visual information, obscuring specifics of time and place through gestural, abstract qualities and creating a narrative with universal threads.
In Rovner’s return to her unique, abstracted language, which consists of duplicated patterns of human movements, she has intensified this visual language. The human figures have lost basic contours, to the point that their humanity becomes difficult to identify. The movement, which apparently repeats itself, has become wilder. The lines, structures and patterns change more rapidly and recall a sense of urgency and warning that permeate our world.
"Across the works in the exhibition, Rovner presents us with the evolution of 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 signalling for help." - Yoram Verete.
In Mechanism (2018), one of the central pieces of the exhibition, a massive amount of tiny human figures rotate like a cogwheel, becoming part of a large mechanism. "We, ourselves are becoming almost like microchips in a big system, a mechanism of the future" - Michal Rovner
Evolution presented at Pace will coincide with Michal Rovner: Dislocation, an exhibition presented at Espace Muraille in Geneva and curated by Laurence Dreyfus.
In 2019, the artist will inaugurate a new large-scale public artwork installed in London’s Canary Wharf Crossrail station. It is commissioned by the Canary Wharf Group and the City of London Corporation.