Monday, January 12, 2009

Black Box: Ori Gersht

I'm a fan of the Black Box at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where moving image works by contemporary artists are shown. The latest artist to be featured there is Ori Gersht, an Israeli artist who lives in London and is know for his large-scale photographs and moving image works. With references to his fear-filled childhood in Israel, the pieces are darker than they appear.

In the box itself is in The Forest (2006), in which a camera moves through a forest (the Moskalova woods that span Poland and the Ukraine) and trees fall to the ground. The piece asks many questions about nature, but it is also personal — it is shot in the same area from which Gersht's in-laws saw their neighbors killed by Nazis and subsequently went into the forest, where they hid for two years.

The piece I like best, though, is the flat-screen work Pomegranate (2006), above, which is at the entrance to the Black Box. With references to Dutch still-life painting, several foods are painted in the vanitas style — they will inevitably die. A shot comes out of nowhere, piercing the pomegranate, which begins to swing like a pendulum, scattering flesh from the fruit. It's a piece that I could watch for hours.

The Gersht pieces are on display through April 12.

No comments: