Esther Shalev-Gerz — The Factory is Outside


Photography, sculpture, mixed media, video

Esther Shalev-Gerz
The Factory is Outside

Past: April 1, 2017 → April 1, 2018

Shalev-Gerz’s art takes the form of an active dialogue with others; it is a process of consultation and negotiation that ensures that the individual and collective memories, stories, opinions and experiences of her participants are visible and indeed highlighted in her works. She is interested in the fluctuating nature of time and space, and the interrelationships between identities, places, history and narratives. Her art is a process of recording, critiquing and furthering our understanding of the social role and significance of artistic practice.

The themes of Shalev-Gerz’s exhibition are also relevant to the history of Mänttä, the small industrial town in Finland, where the exhibition is due to be held. For generations, the local mill has determined the structure and rhythm of everyday life here. Consequently, the dramatic decline of the traditional manufacturing industries has had a significant impact on the community.

In Sound Machine (2008), the looms at the textile factory have fallen silent and the workers recall their noisy working environment. The Last Click (2010–11) recounts the downfall of a highly-regarded camera factory and reveals the now empty workshops, demonstrating that, though photography may have shifted from analogue to digital, people’s affection for cameras very much remains.

Describing Labor (2012) focuses on depictions of work and labour in art. The artworks that appear in the photographs are from the Wolfsonian Institute in Miami, the largest art institution specialising in the history of labour. The artist created this work in consultation with the museum’s curators. In a video, they discuss their own personal relationship with the works they have chosen.

Dead Wood (2016), shot in an ancient woodland in central Europe, recalls a time before the arrival of the wood and paper industries. This poetic work is an excursion into the essence of the forest with four people who represent different branches.

Serlachius Museums
Joenniementie 47
FI-35800 Mänttä

Source : e-Flux