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On Reflection

Places That Were Not


Time After Time

The Clearing/Liquidation: Ukraine [2005]

Gersht often mediates between still photography and moving image and in The Clearing he establishes a dialogue between a film (The Forest) and a series of photographs (Liquidation).

In “The Forest”, commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Gersht returns to the historical themes explored in his previous work and experiments with the materiality of film and sound. The disruptive crash of falling trees, which breaks the silence of a forest idyll, creates a loud fissure in the contemplative image presented to the viewer. The Romantic ‘silence’ of the work of artists such as Casper David Friedrich is transposed to the forests of the Ukraine that were “chewed up by war and fertilized by the bones and blood of the unnumbered dead” and broken. The mediation between past and present is given a violent jolt.

This is what Gersht felt when confronted with the beauty of the landscapes around the Ukrainian towns of Kolomyia and Kosov while also knowing about the terrible events that took place there between 1941 and 1942. The need to make work out of this confrontation resulted in the photographic series “Liquidation”.

At a time when many film and video artists who deal with political themes are producing work that has much in common with the genre of documentary, Gersht’s work is of another genre, that of provocative meditation.

The Forest