This Storm is What We Call Progress

25 January 2012

Ori Gersht's first major solo show in the UK, presenting new photographs alongside two recent filmworks each reflecting personal experiences shaped by the Second World War.

This exhibition ran between 25th January – 29th April 2012.

Israeli-born, London-based artist, Ori Gersht’s work often deals with conflict, history and geographical place. The works in This Storm is What We Call Progress, co-curated by Photoworks Head of Programme, Celia Davies, each disguise dark and complex themes beneath seductive, beautiful imagery.

Will You Dance For Me a new filmwork developed in association with Photoworks, depicts an 85-year-old dancer rocking back and forth in a chair, slowly recounting her experiences as a young woman in Auschwitz. Her punishment for refusing to dance at an SS officer’s party was to stand barefoot in the snow, and she pledged that if she survived she would dedicate her life to dance.

The two-screen film Evaders explores the mountainous path of the Lister Route, used by many to escape Nazi-occupied France. The film focuses on the ill-fated journey of Jewish writer and philosopher Walter Benjamin, whose own words give the exhibition its title. This presentation of Evaders will be the film’s first UK showing.

The photographic work Chasing Good Fortune examines the shifting symbolism of Japanese cherry blossoms which came to be linked with Kamikaze soldiers during the Second World War.

Artist Book: Ori Gersht,  a boxed set of three hardback volumes and a softback text by Robert Rowland Smith, has been published by Photoworks to accompany this exhibition.

Below are some great reviews of the exhibition:

“Dignity and sorrow make for a powerful exhibition that answers the military hardware in the Imperial War Museum with flowers and snowflakes.”
– The GuardianGuardian Exhibition of the Week

“A stunning overview of Gersht’s recent work”
– British Journal of Photography

“it’s fantastic. It’s nuanced, it’s heartfelt, it’s even critical in places of the protagonists, it gives an insight into what war does to peoples lives that a 15ft decommissioned naval gun never can.”
– Contact Editions

“poetic, moving and beautiful”
– Photomonitor

“Gersht presents us with self-consciously sublime imagery, while reminding us that the sublimity has come at a cost.”
– Independent on Sunday

5 stars
– Time Out