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Artist Projects

Michal Rovner

Featured in the Venice Biennale of Architecture

May 22 – Nov 21, 2021
Venice, Italy

A new work by Michal Rovner is now on view in the 17th edition of the Venice Biennale's International Architecture Exhibition.

On view in the Central Pavilion through November 21, the work—entitled Culture-C1—is an extension of Rovner's artistic practice in which she reinterprets historical memory and contemporary themes through drawing, printmaking, video, sculpture, and installation. By recording and erasing visual information, where specifics of time and place are obscured, her works become gestural, layered, and abstract reflections on the continuum of human experience.

The new installation is Rovner's second presentation at the Venice Biennale, following her 2003 landmark exhibition in the Israeli Pavilion, Against Order? Against Disorder? Among the works on view in 2003 was Data Zone, for which Rovner installed "a group of long tables with what look like illuminated petri dishes," wrote Michael Rush in artnet. "Inside, displayed under glass, are diminutive videos of oddly de-sexed silhouetted figures dancing in routines reminiscent of Busby Berkeley. Like humanoid ants in a pure white background, they move, happily, silently. Perhaps, in time, all those other marchers will join them."

Building on the themes explored in Data Zone, Culture-C1 similarly projects dozens of red and white figures onto a circular black background reminiscent of a petri dish. Together the figures move throughout the space in choreographed chaos, joining together at times and moving separately in others. Rovner says she was inspired to revisit the themes explored in Data Zone after the COVID-19 pandemic. "The work is like an X-ray of what was going on in this frenzied, pandemic-struck world. We sat facing screens, presented with data and diagrams, our gaze cast at the science behind it," the artist explains. "The pandemic, on the backdrop of the global climate crisis, emphasized that we are all part of one human fabric. Along with inspiring movements of solidarity and commiseration, we have also been exposed to heedlessness, indifference, and inequality. This raises the question of whether we are one humanity.”

Learn more about Rovner's presentation on the Venice Biennale's website, or read an interview with the artist on Haaretz.

Artist Projects — Michal Rovner at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, May 22, 2021