The CCA is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Ori Gersht that will include works never before seen in Israel. These large-scale installations are the product of a new phase in Gersht’s investigation of the moving image, particularly the way it explores personal and collective memory, and shifts between beauty and horror.
On Friday, August 30th at 12:00pm an artist talk will be held at the exhibition.
“The First to Laugh” depicts Israeli Jewish, Christian, and Muslim children playing a game known as “First to Laugh”. The simple rules of this universal game are for two children to sit opposite one another and stare into each other’s eyes; the child who gives in and begins to laugh first, loses. The installation of this work pits the viewer between the staring children, almost intercepting their visual scrutiny, and effectively coming under it. The juxtaposition between the quiet and intense gaze and the outbursts of laughter make for an exceptional sensory experience.
The works “Offering” and “Will You Dance For Me” are part of an ongoing series of “moving portraits”. Using slow-motion, virtuosic cinematography, careful observation, and sound, Gersht creates moving portraits that straddle the thin line between the image presented – which is beautiful almost to the point of being kitsch – and between the traumatic tension behind it.
Projected onto three panoramic screens, “Offering” presents a cycle that begins with an intimate depiction of a matador being dressed for a bull fight by his armor bearer. The film meticulously depicts, with great attention to detail, an intense and private encounter between culture and the sublime, between a matador and a bull, between life and mortality. Psychologically penetrating, it reveals the carnal affection and sensual affinities between man and beast.
“Will You Dance For Me?” begins with a tight motionless close-up of a very old woman sitting in a rocking chair. The figure is in fact Judith Arnon, an important dancer and choreographer. She begins to move back, drifting out of focus in slow motion, dropping into darkness. The second shot shows a flat, barren snowscape, alluding to Arnon’s punishment during the Holocaust when she was forced to stand barefoot for an entire snowy night because she refused to dance for the Nazis. The piece deepens Gersht’s intrest in memory, juxtaposing the landscape, which reveals nothing of its past, with Arnon, who carries traumas from the Holocaust with her.
Ori Gersht is one of the most successful Israeli artists working today. He has exhibited his work at the Tate Modern and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Contemporary Art, San-Francisco, amongst others.
Opening refreshments is sponsored by Maccabee Beer