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130110 "Esther Shalev-Gerz" Opening Night

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Opening night of "Esther Shalev-Gerz", January 10, 2013.

Photos by Michael R. Barrick, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery.

"Ether Shalev-Gerz"
January 11 - April 14, 2013
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery

Esther Shalev-Gerz brings together key works by the Paris-based artist in the first solo exhibition of her work to be organized in Canada. First shown at the
Kamloops Art Gallery in the spring of 2012, the exhibition will be presented with additional work by Shalev-Gerz at the Belkin Art Gallery.

For over twenty years, Shalev-Gerz has created installation and photographic work that addresses questions of collective and personal memory, of portraiture’s possibilities within contemporary discourses, the politics of representation, history, place and citizenship. The pieces in this exhibition are emblematic of her work and offer new ways to approach our relationship to these questions.

Among the works to be exhibited is WHITE-OUT: Between Telling and Listening (2002), which presents a portrait of sorts—one comprised of fugitive stories that exist fleetingly between the actual and the fictional, between the imagined and the experienced. Like previous works by Shalev-Gerz, WHITE-OUT explores and discloses the space between telling and listening through a video portrait of Åsa Simma, a woman who is both Sami (the indigenous peoples of Northern Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia) and Swedish.

Perpetuum Mobile (1998-2000) depicts a 10 Franc coin spinning in constant motion so that both sides merge into one, just as Åsa Simma’s dual identity merges in a unified and perpetually evolving sense of self. A study of a currency replaced by the Euro and thus no longer in use, Perpetuum Mobile reflects upon money’s symbolic value and its role among the other economic forces that determine and interconnect national and individual identities.

In Between Listening and Telling: Last Witnesses 1945-2005 (2005), a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Shalev-Gerz worked with the testimonies of sixty survivors now living in Paris to create a three-channel video installation that shows the same film on each screen, with a seven-second time-lapse between each one.

Shalev-Gerz returns to her childhood house in Vilnius, Lithuania in Still/Film (2009). One series of photographs show the house where she lived until she was eight; the second shows the site of the house from which her mother was forced to flee when she was nine, which Shalev-Gerz discovered by chance in the nearby town of Alytus.

Born in Lithuania, Esther Shalev-Gerz was raised in Israel and has been a resident of Paris since 1984. She is a Professor at Valand School of Fine Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden where she is currently leading an international research project on Trust and the Unfolding Dialogue funded by the Swedish Research Council. Current and recent exhibitions include: a retrospective at the Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne with a catalogue published by JRP|Ringier (22 September 2012-6 January 2013); an installation of MenschenDinge as part of the group exhibition Newtopia at Kazerne Dossin, Mechelen, Belgium (1 December 2012-31 March 2013); Describing Labor at Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami (5 December 2012-7 April 2013); Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops (2012); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2010); Vilnius Art Academy Gallery, Vilnius (2009); Maritime Museum, Greenwich, (2007); Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und Mittelbau-Dora, Weimar (2006); Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2002); Historiska Museet, Stockholm (2002).

A hardcover catalogue with essays by Elizabeth Matheson, Fanny Söderbäck and Ian Wallace published by the Kamloops Art Gallery accompanies the exhibition, along with a supplement designed specifically for the exhibition at the Belkin Art Gallery with an essay by Georges Didi-Huberman and preface by Scott Watson.

Esther Shalev-Gerz is co-curated by Charo Neville and Annette Hurtig and organized by the Kamloops Art Gallery, with additional works added at its presentation at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. Works from this exhibition are also presented at the UBC Walter C. Koerner Library, 1958 Main Mall, Vancouver.