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18 Sep 2012

Esther Shalev-Gerz at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne

Esther Shalev-Gerz. Between Telling and Listening
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne


Opening hours: Tuesday to Wednesday : 11 am - 6 pm; Thursday : 11 am - 8 pm; Friday to Sunday : 11 am - 5 pm. 26 December : 11 am - 5 pm. Closed on Mondays, 25 December, 1 and 2 January. Opening to coincide with the Museum Night: 22 September 2012, 2 pm - 2 am ( Exhibition length: 22 September 2012 - 6 January 2013 Opening reception: 21 September 2012, 6.30 pm

Loise Cuendet
+41 21 316 34 48
+41 21 316 34 46

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
Place de la Riponne 6
1014 Lausanne

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This fall, the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts of Lausanne presents the first solo exhibition devoted to the work of Esther Shalev-Gerz in Switzerland. It offers a retrospective view of the artist's work through her slide projections, photographs, video installations and documentation of works in public space.

For more than twenty years, Esther Shalev-Gerz has participated in contemporary art debates relating to questions of place, democracy, cultural memory and citizenship. Her practice is foundational in its analysis of the construction and perceptions of individual and collective memory, the persistent significance of commemoration and remembrance. The majority of her works are created in dialogue with people—be they the inhabitants of a specific place, or the witnesses of a particular cultural or political event. Thus the past is always interpreted through the present of those who remember it, or work with its relics. Through different stories, in the space between telling and listening, and by means of her installations, Esther Shalev-Gerz creates new ways to tackle the questions of recollection, memory, bearing witness, and our relationship to history.

Esther Shalev-Gerz has devised her exhibition for the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in a non-chronological order. Instead it is a retrospective that emphasises multiple correlations between her works, suggesting simultaneously the persistence of her investigations and new readings that may arise from their encounter in the exhibition space. Questions of places and landscapes, questions of memorial traces contained in objects or stories, questions of portraits structured by words and silence are explored in multiple ways throughout the show. Through silence and in-takes of breath survivors hear their own testimonies (Between Listening and Telling: Last Witnesses 1945-2005, 2005); a dualist portrait of philosophers speaks to places, thoughts and languages known and not (On Two, 2009); a taxi driver chronicles a journey of angels and genocide (Inseparable Angels. An Imaginary House for Walter Benjamin, 2000), a house is searched for and a home found (Still/Film, 2009); objects are handled by custodians of histories still being unearthed (MenschenDinge – The Human Aspect of Objects, 2004-2006); while a clock with two faces and four hands compresses past and present.

Esther Shalev-Gerz's unique exploration of spatial-temporal boundaries – combined with her dedication to 'giving voice' and active listening – has allowed her to articulate a significant and influential body of work that reveals not just how we live but opens up possibilities of how we may co-exist.

Esther Shalev-Gerz was born in Vilnius, raised in Jerusalem and has lived in Paris since 1984. She is a Professor at Valand School of Fine Arts, University of Gothenburg, Sweden where she is currently leading an international research project on Trust and the Unfolding Dialogue funded by the Swedish Research Council.
Recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions include: The Belkin Art Gallery, UBC, Vancouver (2013); The Wolfsonian-FIU, Miami (2012); Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops (2012); Jeu de Paume, Paris (2010); Vilnius Art Academy Gallery, Vilnius (2009); Maritime Museum, Greenwich, (2007); Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und Mittelbau-Dora, Weimar (2006); Sprengel Museum, Hannover (2002); Historiska Museet, Stockholm (2002).


'Esther Shalev-Gerz. Between Telling and Listening'.
A bilingual monographic reference catalogue (French / English) is published by the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts / Lausanne, with newly commissioned texts by Nora M. Alter, Georges Didi-Huberman, Annika Wik and James E. Young. JRP Ringier, Zurich, 2012.

Thursday November 15th, 2012, 8 pm, Aula of the Palais de Rumine, Lausanne
Georges Didi-Huberman, 'Le partage des émotions' (in French)
Preceded by a tour of the exhibition with Esther Shalev-Gerz

Discover the full programme on the Museum website:

Nicole Schweizer, exhibition curator:
Loïse Cuendet, press officer: