Esther Shalev-Gerz

Esther Shalev-Gerz

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA)

September 24, 2012

Esther Shalev-Gerz
Between Telling and Listening

September 22, 2012–January 6, 2013

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts
Palais de Rumine, Place de la Riponne 6
CH – 1014 Lausanne

T +41 21 316 34 45
F +41 21 316 34 46

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.

Public lecture
Georges Didi-Huberman, “Le partage des émotions”
Thursday November 15, 2012, 8pm
Aula of the Palais de Rumine, Lausanne
Preceded by a tour of the exhibition with Esther Shalev-Gerz

Discover the full programme on the Museum website:

Loïse Cuendet, press officer:
Nicole Schweizer, exhibition curator: nicole.schweizer [​at​]


Thursdays at the MCBA
Guided tours at 6:30pm
4 October 2012, with Sandrine Moeschler, museum educator
15 November 2012, with Esther Shalev-Gerz
29 November 2012, with Sandrine Moeschler
13 December 2012, with Nicole Schweizer, curator

Guided tour for the Friends of the Museum
27 September 2012, 6:30pm, with Nicole Schweizer

Guided tour for the Friends of the Cinémathèque suisse
18 October 2012, 6:30pm (further information:

MCBA at the movies
Friday 2 November 2012
Cinémathèque suisse, attended by Esther Shalev-Gerz
6:30pm: Night and Fog by Alain Resnais, followed by Man with a Movie Camera by Dziga Vertov
9pm: Happiness by Alexander Medvedkin
In partnership with the Cinémathèque suisse (

Writing workshop at the MCBA
Saturday 10 November 2012, 1–5:15pm (in French)
Run by: Naël Lafer
Places must be booked beforehand

Saturdays at the MCBA
Each 1st Saturday of the month, admission is free and a guide answers the public’s questions about Esther Shalev-Gerz’s work.

Young visitors at the MCBA
An audio-guide (in French) is available at the desk for 10-year-olds and up.

Opening hours
Hours: Tues–Wed, 11–6pm;
Thurs, 11–8pm; Fri–Sun, 11–5pm
26 December: 11–5pm
Closed on Mondays, 25 December, 1 and 2 January
Opening to coincide with the Museum Night:
22 September 2012, 2pm–2am (

Under 16: free
1st Saturday of the month: free

Metro M2: station Riponne-Maurice Béjart
Bus 1/2: stop at Rue Neuve
Bus 8: stop at Riponne

info.beaux-arts [​at​]

RSVP for Esther Shalev-Gerz
Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA)
September 24, 2012

Thank you for your RSVP.

Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne (MCBA) will be in touch.


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