This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Ori Gersht, an Israeli-born artist who has spent the last fifteen years exploring the territory in which violence and beauty overlap, often with a special focus on how a landscape can bear witness. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has just opened a mid-career survey of his work titled, “Ori Gersht: History Repeating.” On view through Jan. 6, the show was curated by Al Miner.
Gersht and I spoke extensively about his interest in landscapes where beauty intersects with a history of violence. This work, Liquidation, is in the Guggenheim’s collection. Here’s how the museum presents it on its website:
For his series Liquidation (2005), Gersht traveled to the isolated region of Galicia in southwest Ukraine, a site of unspeakable violence during the Holocaust, and retraced the routes that hundreds of Jews took to hide from the Nazis. A child of Jewish immigrants from Poland, Gersht reflects on his own heritage in relation to this charged scenery through his photographs. His aim is not to produce documentary photojournalism but rather to push the limits of the medium to suggest painterly abstraction. The amorphous forms in Unknown Land therefore become an otherworldly reminder of the dark history that permeates the landscape.
Image: Ori Gersht, Unknown Land (detail), from the series “Liquidation,” 2005. Collection of The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.