escort Paris Spacex – Ori GershtThe Clearing10 March – 6 May 2006
Exhibition

Ori Gersht
The Clearing
10 March –
6 May 2006

This exhibition premiers a new film called The Forest and a series of photographs by Israeli-born British based artist Ori Gersht. In his work Ori Gersht explores landscapes embedded with both personal and historic resonance.

The forest in question surrounds Kolomyia, in the Ukraine, a remaining fragment of the once vast primeval forest that covered much of continental Europe. Although the forest was much mythologised and idealised in paintings by the German Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich, the area was to bear witness to appalling atrocities during World War II. Ori Gersht’s connection to the region is that his relatives were to find brief and harsh haven here from Nazi persecution.

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The film is made deep in the forest, in what initially appears to be a sylvan idyll bathed in dappled pools of light. However, as the pace of the film increases, a number of trees start to fall mysteriously in front of the camera, crashing down to earth.

Many of the new photographs are taken primarily of the landscape around the forest. They have an almost fluid and bleached out appearance, through long exposures, and capturing images whilst moving. These are contrasted to very dark photographs of the trees and forest. As with the film, the work grapples with the pictorial and superficial beauty of this area and the darker horrors of its past that reside in this part of Eastern Europe.

The Forest was co-commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with The Photographers’ Gallery.

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