Esther Shalev-Gerz. The Open Page: The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia. From drawings made on the spot, by David Roberts, RA. With historical descriptions by the Revd. George Croly, LLD; lithographed by Louis Haghe. By David Roberts, London: F.G. Moon, 1842-44. (The Holy Sepulchre), 2008, inkjet on paper, 82 x 113 cm. Courtesy of the artist.
Born in Lithuania and raised in Israel, Esther Shalev-Gerz is an artist who lives and works in Paris, France, Gothenburg, Sweden, and since 1984 part-time on Hornby and Cortes Islands, British Columbia. She is interested in uncovering histories and in how knowledge is interpreted and made accessible from generation to generation. The life-size photographs in this exhibition are of rare books that can be seen in UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, among them a Victorian pictorial history of Palestine and the Holy Land, and the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. The publications depict the imaginations and desires of European writers and travelers.
Each page was photographed with a large-format camera and reveals the pages as well as the hands of the librarians who are holding the book of their choice and drawing attention to the minute details.
The photographs were originally commissioned in 2008 by the Vancouver Public Library. Shalev-Gerz asked librarians to select pages from their favourite books in the VPL’s Special Collections. The photographs that have been selected for Koerner Library are of books that are available at the University of British Columbia. More works of art by Esther Shalev-Gerz can be seen at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery from January 11 to April 14, 2013.
The Open Page is a collaboration of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and the Walter C. Koerner Library at The University of British Columbia, and is made possible by the generous support of the Audain Foundation. Art in the Library offers new perspectives on contemporary art by presenting art that questions our current perceptions about the world around us.
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