Gallery Associate John Campbell-Orde contributes some insight into the broad issues in our current show. Here are his reflections on the works by Ori Gersht:
Ori Gersht's work has been described as capturing the 'optical unconsciousness,' or the infinite changes that exist in between what the brain and naked eye register with human consciousness. Gersht employs cutting-edge photographic technology to accomplish the eternal desire to suspend time. Rendering time plastic, Gersht creates ethereal works, pregnant with narrative. The photographs in the current exhibition come from his Falling Bird series and Pomegranate series, and play on the classical still life painting. As with other photographs from these series and his photographs from earlier series, those in the upcoming exhibition elicit dialogue between the temporal and the physical, with time the invisible hand imbuing the physical with import. Gersht’s photographs both compresses and expand time. In contrast to still life paintings, his scenes are captured quickly through photography. Time is thereby compressed when compared to the classical still life painting, which seems to depict one moment even though significant time would have elapsed during the painting process and changes to the scene would therefore have occurred. Gersht also expands time by dissecting it. Each photograph represents an exact moment in time. As his photographs implicitly recognize, though, time is subject to infinite dissection. While his photographic process reveals fleeting realities that otherwise would elude human consciousness, since time can never be broken down completely it will always to obscure as well as reveal. Like Russian dolls, within every moment lies another.
Lush and painterly in feel, the photographs in the upcoming exhibition depict objects typical from still life paintings, such as fruit, sliced open to reveal latent life, or recently hunted game patiently awaiting its dressing. As the classical still life painters suspended time and refocused our eyes through the meditative stillness in their scenes, Gersht uses photographic technology to dissect time by the millisecond. Time is both implicit subject matter and the brush Gersht uses. Each temporal fragment and accompanying physical permutation is captured through high speed photography. In one large photograph in the upcoming exhibition a duck hangs suspended by twine above water, a brightly colored orange resting nearby. Subsequent photographs in the Falling Bird series show the duck descending and slowly being enveloped by the water, with jewel-like droplets suspended in the air around its neck. In another photograph in the upcoming exhibition we see pooled water with carefully arranged grapes resting on an adjacent ledge. Closer inspection reveals that the wall behind has been splashed with the water, an implicit event that the photograph does not reveal. In the photograph from the Pomegranate series, which is based on a 17th Century still life and Degerton's famous photograph of a bullet that has just burst through an apple and emerged on the other side. In the pomegranate photograph from the upcoming exhibition, a pomegranate suspended by string has just been exploded by a bullet. Nearby are vegetables and sliced-open fruit peacefully resting. Other photographs from the Pomengranate series show the pomengrante further expanding and tearing open from the violent shock.