The exhibition will center upon two new series by Ori Gersht: Fragile Lands and New Orders.
The Fragile Land series uses native flowers of Israel as a vehicle to investigate the ideologies of Zionism, national identity, the fragility of national mythologies, and the multiplicity of truths. In the 1950s it was a common pastime to go into the countryside to pick wildflowers. To many, this practice represented the prosperity of their young nation and a way to connect to the land of their ancestors. However, the practice became so popular that many species of wildflower were brought almost to the point of extinction. In 1963, wildflower picking was outlawed, marking a shift in the attitudes of people towards the land, and adding new layers of symbolic meaning attached to the flowers by shifting the focus from the past to the future. For this series, Gersht procured or cultivated specimens, including Cyclamen, Iris Atropurpurea, and the Madonna Lily, all of which have played a significant role in Israeli and European cultural histories. In highly choreographed studio sessions, Gersht then destroys the symbols by shooting them with an air rifle. Mirroring the act of picking wildflowers, it is an action that simultaneously honors and destroys cultural heritage. By using both an 8 x 10 camera and a high-speed digital camera to capture the event simultaneously, Gersht captures two versions of the same reality.
The New Orders series similarly includes a process of meticulous preparation and highly choreographed studio sessions that record the destruction of objects with layered symbolic meanings. In this series, Gersht references the instability and fragmentation of the European Union by recreating still life masterpieces by prominent painters from various EU member states. This exhibition features works that reference the paintings of Old Master artists Chardin, Zurbarán, and Morandi. The resulting images and panoramas present a cinematic unfolding of destruction and collapse that is both elegant and ominous. Both of these series continue these inquiries and expand upon them with work that is both visually arresting and intellectually compelling.