London Evening Standard
25 Jan 2012
By Sue Steward
Ori Gersht: The storm is what we call progress, Imperial War Museum – review
Imperial War Museum Lambeth Road
“Scars created by wars on our collective and personal memories” is how Ori Gersht describes his inspiration, and scars permeate this his first UK solo exhibition.
The series Chasing Good Fortune focuses on the historical symbolism of Japanese cherry blossom revealed in digital photographs shot at night.
Exaggeratedly enlarged images resembling pointilliste paintings mix with the more literal, their beauty disguising the flowers’ significance in Japanese history, from badges of honour for Kamikaze pilots to trees growing in contaminated Hiroshima soil.
In contrast, Will You Dance With Me? is a moving documentary about an 85-year-old Israeli, Yehudit Arnon. Gersht focuses on her dignified attempts to dance in her rocking chair, its movement swinging her face in and out of the light like her memories shifting between life in Auschwitz and as a kibbutz dancer.
Time and memory are key to Gersht’s work and permeate The Evaders, a re-enactment of philosopher Walter Benjamin’s failed walk to safety during the Second World War. Beautifully filmed, its repetitive tension is, however, less convincing than the portrait of Arnon.
The accompanying Artist’s Book is an exquisitely produced addition.
Until April 29. 020 7416 5439, iwm.org. uk. Artist’s Book, photoworks.org.uk.