Michal Rovner: Panorama – Pace London – The March Through Time

Pace Gallery London presents its first solo exhibition of the work of Michal Rovner, where the artist unveils her first multi-screen works using new LCD technology, specifically customised for her. In Panorama, Rovner’s works continue to explore this medium. These large-scale, multi-screen works combine her signature human figures with the landscape elements which she has been exploring for the last two years.

Upon first entering the gallery the viewer is met with the sight of a collection of interestingly lit abstract paintings – some of which are quite large in scale. It is only on closer inspection that true nature of the work reveals itself. These are not paintings but video screens, and there is movement in these ‘canvases’. Rovner has a moving image as a non-narrative, non-cinematic medium for the creation of painterly images. The works incorporate both the language of abstraction, and that of figurative painting to form a relationship between the two; these are amalgams of both painting and video possessing the quality of both forms.

A highlight of the exhibition includes ‘Array’, a work where the artist’s interest in archaeology confronts cyclical histories resulting in images of a black and white field mirroring the texture of a drawing, or even enlarged newspaper print. but this pattern is in fact human figures, traversing the scene in rows, repeating their movements, moving without advancing. Rovner creates a tension in conjuring images of fields of flowers, desert landscapes, rocky terrains – all at once landscapes in which her figures preside, and simultaneously abstraction.

The artist employs a duality of language to flip between multiple perspectives when reading the ‘canvases’. Occupying two positions simultaneously, the works echo a current trend for homogenising different languages in a single art form. At once abstract canvases – the video works transform. The abstraction becomes a ‘landscape’ for Rovner’s perfect miniature figures to traverse in caravans, as if burdened by some great march through time.

In fact the works only narrative component is indeed temporal as the evocation of natural landscapes habited with nameless figures, intertwines with a striking abstraction. The resulting works are silent, haunting evocations of human interactions set against the landscape of time.

The figures navigate across their video canvases in an endless, infinite precession, in varying directions. Abandoning any sense of narrative, except the temporal, the artist has displaced her figures in an abstract wasteland. Time is disrupted, with the works possessing a cyclical form. These are abstract, painterly video works, at once abstract and a landscape in which the human race is forever walking, marching on endlessly like Sisyphus forever pushing that boulder up the hill.

Michal Rovner: Panorama – Pace Gallery London – until 15 June 2015

Words: Paul Black. Photo: courtesy of Pace London. Vine, P A Black © Artlyst 2015 all rights reserved

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