Michal Rovner

Born: 1957, Tel Aviv (Israel)

Michal Rovner is an Israeli video, photo and cinema artist. She was born in Tel Aviv in 1957 and moved to New York in 1987.

Michal Rovner is interested not in the fates of individuals, but in the structures of groups of people. In her videos, each person is tiny and only part of a larger group or crowd, shot from above and from a distance. Although their faces cannot be distinguished from this point of view, we see the vectors of the common movement and the common laws of the circulation of the masses.

There are overtones of both religion and scientific research in Michal Rovner’s generalised approach. Nevertheless, the camera shots from up above are not intended to be condescending or to belittle the role of each individual.

The small black figures are sometimes projected onto the blank sheets of an open book or stone slabs eroded by the passage of time. The rows of tiny people look like a printed text or words cut in ancient cuneiform. Remove one figure/word and the whole text loses its original meaning.

Michal Rovner represented Israel at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. In Against Order? Against Disorder? tiny silhouetted people were grouped in petri dishes, resembling chromosomes, DNA and erythrocytes. The loss of any element in the biological structure brings the threat of disease or abnormality.

The systematic interaction of all elements leads to harmony. This is particularly evident in the Notes project – a collaboration between Michal and her friend, the famous minimalist composer Philip Glass. Rovner arranged the figures of people on sheet music, forming an expressive visual series. Glass played the people as a musical score, creating a melody.

In 2009, Michal Rovner contributed to the VIDENIE exhibition of video art at the PERMM (Perm Museum of Contemporary Art). In Zigzag, chains of people moving forwards deviate first to the left, then to the right. The flow of this human river looks like many different things – an ornamental design or a bio-substance seen through an electronic microscope; a product of culture or a fact of nature. This is both a dance and a stream or, possibly, the electrocardiogram of the beating of a collective heart.

Random articles