Michal Rovner


Jan 30–Apr 18, 2019

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.

Exhibition Details

Michal Rovner
Jan 30 – Apr 18, 2019


Quai des Bergues 15-17
Tues – Sat, 10 AM – 6 PM

Above: Michal Rovner, Nilus, 2018, 2 LCD screens and video, 57-1/16" × 65-3/8" × 4-5/8" (144.9 cm × 166.1 cm × 11.7 cm), Edition of 5 + 2 APs © 2019 Michal Rovner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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.


Michal Rovner, Mechanism, 2018, video projection, dimensions variable, Edition of 3 + 2 APs © 2019 Michal Rovner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

"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.


Michal Rovner

Michal Rovner’s 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.

Learn More

Geneva — Michal Rovner, Evolution, Jan 30–Apr 18, 2019