Ori Gersht's The Forest will feature in the online exhibition Art in Focus: The Provocation of Conditions at the Yale Centre for British Art.
Spanning four decades of experimental filmmaking from British artists, the exhibition brings together works which reflect on unrest, violence and systems of power in response to the resonance of these themes in the contemporary moment. Gersht's The Forest (2005) screens alongside Margaret Tait's Colour Poems (1974), Lis Rhodes' Orifso (1999), and Numen (2014) by John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison.
Ori Gersht’s The Forest was shot deep in the forests around Kosov in Ukraine, which were witness to atrocities against the local Jewish population — the artist’s family amongst them — during the Second World War. As the camera glides through the dense, sun-dappled forest, a tree falls heavily, and inexplicably, to the ground; and others soon follow, continuing out of shot, or heard but not seen. Afterwards, the silence of the place returns and, amongst so much that is still standing, we cannot be sure what we have just been witness to. Entranced by the hypnotic beauty of the projected image, then shocked by the ear-splitting sound of trees crashing to the ground, our immediate perception of the place is challenged, forcing us to imagine what might have happened here before.
The Forest (2005) by Ori Gersht was commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella in association with The Photographers’ Gallery, with support from Arts Council England.
With additional thanks to CRG Gallery, New York, Angles Gallery, Los Angeles and Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv.