Because has been a fan of Ori Gersht since before it was a twinkle in Tank's eye, having had the pleasure of seeing an advance cut of his film Evaders at the artist's home some years ago. The film, which abstractly revisits the last days in the life of philosopher Walter Benjamin as he flees the Nazis through torturous, wintry mountain conditions, is one of the strongest in a rich vein of artists' films concerning myth and mythology that is so popular right now.
The two-screen installation is only one work in a new show by Gersht currently on display at the Imperial War Museum, titled This Storm Is What We Call Progress. In partnership with the photographic agency Photoworks, this exhibition deals with themes including conflict and its relation to personal histories and memory. Alongside Evaders is Will You Dance For Me?, a single-screen video piece depicting an 85-year old woman, rocking in a rocking chair, narrating a story of her experience as a young woman at Auschwitz. A series of photographs entitled Chasing Good Fortune accompany the filmed works. Gersht is a master of lens-based work and his photographs both complement and add to an already fertile ground that blurs the line between aesthetics and contents, with this series shifting the symbolism of the very Japanese, and very beautiful, imagery of the cherry blossom tree to parallel his explorations into the social effects of the war. This is a heart-breaking and thought-provoking show in which Gersht gently reminds us what it truly means to never forget.
Ori Gersht: This Storm Is What We Call Progress is at the Imperial War Museum until 29 April.