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Announcement
January 7, 2013

Esther Shalev-Gerz

Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at University of British Columbia
Esther Shalev-Gerz, Still/Film, 2009 (detail).
Black-and-white photograph. Courtesy of the artist.

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The Belkin Art Gallery is pleased to present Esther Shalev-Gerz, which brings together key works by the Paris-based artist in the first solo exhibition of her art to be organized in Canada. For over twenty years, Shalev-Gerz has created installation and photographic works that address questions of collective and personal memory, of the possibility of portraiture and the politics of representation, history, place and citizenship. The works in this exhibition offer unique ways to approach these relationships with our questions.

Between Listening and Telling: Last Witnesses 1945–2005 (2005) is a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, in which Shalev-Gerz worked with sixty survivors then living in Paris to create a three-channel video installation that depicts portraits of the Paris survivors as they gather themselves to speak.

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

WHITE-OUT: Between Telling and Listening (2002) explores the complexity of identity in the space between telling and listening by a video portrait of Åsa Simma, a woman who is both Sami (the indigenous peoples of Northern Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia) and Swedish. 

Inseparable Angels: An Imaginary House for Walter Benjamin (2000) consists of a video retracing the journey between Weimar and Buchenwald concentration camp, filmed from a taxi. At times the image wobbles, slows down, or becomes double, with texts by Franz Kafka, Heiner Müller, Gershom Sholem, Klee and Benjamin interposed as voice-overs, all referring to angels. A clock with two faces, the hands of which turn in opposite directions, a double chair with no back and three photographs accompany the video.

Just before the introduction of the Euro, Shalev-Gerz created the video loop Perpetuum Mobile (1998–2000) in which a ten-Franc coin is seen endlessly spinning, permanently deferring its final fall.

Born in Lithuania, Esther Shalev-Gerz was raised in Israel and has been a resident of Paris since 1984. She is a Professor of Fine Art at the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, where she leads the international research project on Trust and the Unfolding Dialogue funded by the Swedish Research Council.  Recent solo exhibitions include the Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami (until 7 April 2013); Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzterland (until 6 January 2013); Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops (2012); and Jeu de Paume, Paris (2010).

Esther Shalev-Gerz is co-curated by Charo Neville and Annette Hurtig and organized by Kamloops Art Gallery, with additional works added for its presentation at the Belkin Art Gallery. The Belkin Art Gallery gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Belkin Curator’s Forum members.

For information, please contact Jana Tyner: [email protected] or 604 822 1389.

 

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