Ori Gersht: Black Soil
On View December 12, 2002 - February 01, 2003
CRG Gallery is pleased to present the New York solo debut of Israeli born artist, Ori Gersht. Gersht will present images from a new series entitled Black Soil as well as two videos, Neither Black nor White and Dew. Journeys, both literal and metaphorical, are an important element in Ori Gersht’s art and his recent work has developed through a series of trips made to places of significant historical interest to him. Gersht, who currently resides and works in London, photographed recent images from the series, Black Soil, while visiting his homeland this past summer. Several images are photographed from the Jewish quarter in Nazareth overlooking the Arab Village of Iksal in a blaze of red with the intensity of a burning fire. These images were taken at night with a long exposure of tranquil scenery. The images point to a tension between formal beauty and explosive violence. In stark visual contrast, images from the Golan Heights are shot in the hues of scorched soil, a result of military training and activities. These dark images engage the romantic notion of blood and soil, and the continuous battle of culture with nature. The video, Neither Black nor White, was also shot from the Jewish quarter of Nazareth overlooking Iksal. The camera recorded half a second of footage every thirty seconds reducing a shooting period of eight hours to eight minutes of film. Shot overnight, the urban scene is unrecognizable, resembling a star constellation more than a cityscape. As dawn breaks, the city gradually emerges before disappearing again, as the rising sun bleaches the image out. Dew, shot in real time and condensed in editing, also begins as an abstracted unrecognizable image. The condensation of dew causes the auto-focus mode of the camera to turn itself on and as the dew slowly evaporates the focus shifts to the background, revealing a nomadic Bedouin camp in the Negev desert.