A former dancer turned artist, Michal Rovner is one of the most ingenious talents working with video and creative digital processes today. With more than 50 solo shows over the past 25 years—including a midcareer retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2002, a dynamic transformation of the Israeli Pavilion for the 2003 Venice Biennale, and an historical intervention at the Louvre last year—Rovner returns for her fifth solo outing in 15 years at Pace. Since first presenting her photographic works at Pace/MacGill Gallery in 1997, the Israeli-born Rovner, who splits her time between a studio in New York and a farm in her homeland, has exponentially expanded the fields of video, sculpture and installation art.
“Topography” offers a fresh crop of poetic pieces, ranging from stripped-down LCD screens that look like moving works on paper to enchanting video projections on black limestone. The primary muse is the wavering cypress tree, which most often gets mixed with processions of tiny people in barren backgrounds. Edom is a split-screen LCD video edition with two cypresses butted against the centerline and an exodus of pilgrims passing through receding mountains and reddened skies. Tavlit (Relief) projects dozens of cypress trees that turn from black on white to white on black slabs, while Echo displays positive and negative trees on two parallel stacks of stones. Combining the pulsating cypresses—symbolic of longevity—with a peaceful flow of humanity, Rovner choreographs new realities on tablets that are as old as time.—Paul Laster