Artist Ori Gersht is known mostly for his photographs of landscapes and still-lifes, and he's also a filmmaker. Columbus gets a little of both worlds in concurrent shows at the Columbus Museum of Art and Pizzuti Collection.
As a confessed culture vulture, my favorite season is upon us. Through the end of the year, theaters, galleries, museums and stages will be bustling with new activities. The only hard part is choosing which event to attend. Our Fall Arts Guide, in this month's issue, should help settle some of those decisions. But we couldn't contain all the good stuff even in a big feature story.
Case in point: the artist Ori Gersht, who is visiting the Columbus Museum of Art tonight for a (now sold out) talk and whose work is on exhibit this fall at both the Pizzuti Collection and the CMA. Gersht is known mostly for his photographs of landscapes and still-lifes, and he's also a filmmaker. Columbus gets a little of both worlds in these concurrent shows, Ori Gersht: Portraits and Ori Gersht: Still Life, respectively.
Visit Pizzuti Collection over the course of the season to see three short films by Gersht. The first, "Evaders," is inspired by the attempted escape from Nazi-occupied France of Walter Benjamin, a German Jewish intellectual and philosopher. The 18-minute film isn't a biopic in the traditional sense. Instead, it's a meditation on the struggles of Benjamin and his fellow travelers against history, time and the brutal, beautiful nature that surrounded them on their path through the Pyrenees mountains. "It's a beautiful piece," Pizzuti Collection curator Rebecca Ibel told me.
Scholars have been invited to give talks at Pizzuti in conjunction with the films-these are great opportunities to better understand and appreciate the art. In all, three Gersht films will be shown at Pizzuti Collection, each on a continuous loop for six weeks at a time.
After (or before) your stop at the collection, head to the CMA for an exhibition of Gersht's photography. Some of the pieces remind me of the slow-motion explosion filmwork popularized by movies like "The Matrix." They freeze destruction of everyday objects in their tracks, leaving us to imagine the aftermath and letting us get up close to an act that would otherwise pass in the blink of an eye. Gersht draws inspiration from "romantic landscapes and 18th century still life paintings," according to the CMA's official summary of the show. It continues: "The work is rich with art-historical allusions, but also suggests ongoing political conflicts. Gersht heightens our perception of movement and stasis; looking at his work is to feel suspended in time and caught within the layers of history."