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Photo by Ardon Bar-Hama
Michal Rovner (b. 1957, Israel) lives and works in New York City and on a farm in Israel.
Rovner’s work in video, sculpture and installation creates a chain of associations from the poetic to the political. Masses of people move in rhythmic patterns that appear both orderly and disorderly, creating a new, complex language. Her works about time and the human condition touch on the very essence of shifting realities.
Rovner's work has been exhibited worldwide in over sixty solo exhibitions including, Michal Rovner: The Space Between (2002), a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York; Against Order? Against Disorder? (2003) at the Israeli Pavilion 50th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale; Fields (2005) at Jeu de Paume in collaboration with Festival d'Autume; Fields of Fire (sound composed by Heiner Goebbles), Paris; and Histoires (2011), a solo exhibition in three parts at the Musee du Louvre in Paris.
Site-specific video installations created by Rovner include: Mutual Interest (1997) at the Tate Gallery, London; Overhanging (1999) at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Overhang (2000) at the Chase Manhattan Bank on Park Avenue New York; Untitled Paris 2003 (2004) at LVMH Headquarters, Paris; Living Landscape (2005), a permanent video installation at Yad Vashem, The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, Jerusalem; and Cracks in Time (2012) at Castello di Rivoli, Turin.
In 2011 Rovner collaborated with author David Grossman to create THE HUG. In 2013, she created the permanent, site-specific installation Traces of Life: The World of the Children at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, devoted to the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered during the Shoah.
Michal Rovner has been represented by Pace Gallery since 2003.
".... In this almost magical flow of time into time, culture into culture, within this process that is the living breath of the oeuvre of Michal Rovner, we suddenly sense: this is us. We are passing through. We are gone. This is how future generations will remember us, or, almost certainly, forget...
"As in most of her works, Rovner carries out, on the one hand, a precisely calculate erasure of the individual self...On the other hand, Rovner, with all her might, performs an act of resuscitation and revival, awarding the gift of movement and vitality to everything, every object and entity. Not only people can be reborn and get free of inertia and lifelessness: even apparently inanimate materials, the stone, the wall, are rejuvenated by the power of movement that she infuses within them." – David Grossman, from Stone, Light, Man (about Rovner’s Histoires)
"[Rovner's] work, full of pathos and poetry, is radically different from anything else you are likely to see in a gallery or museum. She is a philosopher as much as an artist, assembling mysterious tableaus that are haunting metaphors for our lives…[Her] artwork usually involves an amalgam of physical materials (stones, tablets, even architectural structures) and cutting-edge video. She has no set way of working, constantly refining and changing modes of presentation, materials and her governing ideas." – Benjamin Gennocchio, The New York Times
"…Rovner's forms convey universal emotions through a language of the body that suggests and evokes without ever fully spelling things out… “ – Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune
"Through both symbolism and technique, Rovner questions our sense of reality and keeps her work at the edge of ambiguity." – Ida Panicelli, Artforum
"[Rovner diffuses the descriptive details to reduce her subject matter to something that is both less and more than its original form." – Sylvia Wolf, Art on Paper
"Rovner’s art persists in the continuum of human life, the tactile experience of how we live in relation to one another, the push and pull, not in formal terms, but according to our human trace: the body as the source of writing." – Robert C. Morgan, The Brooklyn Rail
"Michal Rovner is one of the most ingenious talents working with video and creative digital processes today." – Paul Laster, TimeOut New York
"[A] bright light within the Israeli contemporary-art world." – Carol Kino, The New York Times
“Rovner's media art is like no other. She stands alone in the pure and artful way she bends digital technology to suit her own vision. She makes of these tools fine materials like the smoothest of marble or the supplest of paints." – Michael Rush, Artnet
“[A] groundbreaking video artist…Rovner walks a fine line in her art between realism and abstraction. She uses the most technologically advanced video equipment available to delve into some of the most age-old and human themes…Her imagery is blurry, beautiful and haunting all at the same time." – TimeOut, New York