At PACE Burlington Gardens in London, the Israeli artist Michael Rovner is showing her work “Panorama”. Many artists experiment with video work and it achieves success through innovation, shock or a new slant on life; Rovner succeeds because her work is a 21st century interpretation of painting or drawing, they are complex but simple and are quite beautiful. Expansive landscapes, which could be formed from the grain of stone or the rough lines of pencil drawings are the backcloth for human figures which move slowly though them. Does this reflect on the original Biblical journeys of Jewish tribes or on more modern episodes in the 20th century? In a week where there have been catastrophic events in Nepal, perhaps it might also reflect on any people who are lost, disposed from their homes and therefore wander through the countryside, searching, searching, searching…..
At the White Cube in Bermondsey, the American artist Theaster Gates in his exhibition “Freedom of Assembly” explores the theme of assembly, individual freedom and the sense of place. The artworks are more physical and traditional, using materials collected from derelict buildings in the south side of his native city of Chicago, including timber, metal, tar, ceramics and the like, but several display texture in a similar way to Rovner and they also reflects back on the history of his community and where the future lies.
Two different artists, but both exploring heritage, identity, freedom and the melancholy search for a new, and perhaps better, place.