For Israeli fine art photographer Ori Gersht, destruction is just another form of creation.
In his On Reflection series, shown at Ben Brown Fine Arts in Hong Kong in 2015, the artist photographed the dramatic explosions of mirrored glass as they reflected exquisite arrangements of silk flowers – silk flowers meticulously arranged to replicate floral compositions found in three still-life paintings by Jan Breughel the Elder, held in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. The resulting photographs are simultaneously staged and incidental, creative and destructive, transient and – thanks to their capture on film – permanent.
‘Violence can be very grotesque and also intensely attractive,’ said the photographer who has also documented war-torn Sarajevo in his Afterwars series, a train journey to Auschwitz in White Noise, and an Ukrainian forest in The Clearing. ‘What interests me is how the two – beauty and violence – live side by side, and how moments can be created and erased almost simultaneously. Destruction is painful, but at times it can be very cathartic.’
Gersht was born in Tel Aviv but now lives and works in London, where he runs his fine art studio while filling the post of Professor of Photography at UCA (University for the Creative Arts).
Most recently, Gersht’s focus has been held by the ancient, magical gardens of Buddhist Zen temples in and around Kyoto, Japan. The photographer has worked on preserving the inherent peacefulness of these floral paradises in his collection of water-reflected images he calls Floating World.
‘In my work I often explore the relationships between tradition and past memories with the present, between history and contemporary life,’ Gersht told Wallpaper, ‘In doing so I try to push the technical limitations of photography, questioning its claim to truth.’
Ori Gersht: Floating World is at Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, until 16 June.
Photo credit: Copyright the Artist. Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts, London.