Michal Rovner’s artwork for Crossrail’s Art Programme addresses themes of humanity, history and time, and celebrates London’s landmarks
Michal Rovner’s Transitions, a new, site-specific, 16-metre-long screen-based artwork addressing themes of humanity, history and time, will be unveiled on 3 October. The large-scale video artwork will reference the striking architecture of Canary Wharf and capture the lively character of the new Canary Wharf Elizabeth line station.
The supersized digital installation is part of The Crossrail Art Foundation’s public art programme, known as The Crossrail Art Programm. It is one of the ten major works of public art being installed at seven of the new Elizabeth line stations, Transitions is co-funded by Canary Wharf Group and the City of London Corporation and was commissioned with the support of the Pace Gallery.
In this new piece, Rovner records elements from different locations in London and erases visual information, obscuring specifics of time and place through gestural, abstract qualities. Transitions juxtaposes human narrative with historical and architectural landmarks of the British capital.
Showing on a vast LED screen positioned within Canary Wharf’s Crossrail Place, the piece also draws influence from the dramatically sculpted escalators, platforms and passageways of the new Elizabeth line station at Canary Wharf, reflecting on the human presence within the space and the dynamic flow of people arriving and departing. The lines, structures and patterns change more rapidly and recall a sense of urgency and warning that permeate our world.
Each individual silhouette featured in the film has been personally filmed by Rovner to depict individualism and humanity. Although each person has been abstracted to the point of anonymity, the indistinct bodies represent everyone – regardless of age, race or gender. The artwork is a vivid reminder of the tide of humanity that ebbs and flows through London, an entity which formulaically moves to the stop and start of the London Underground.
Transitions can be found on the Quay Level of Crossrail Place.
Michal Rovner, Artist, commented: “I wanted to encapsulate, to summarize this place, London with the mystery of fog, the rich theatre, literature and architecture. A mixture of present and past, a world full of monuments, testimonies of a dramatic and grand history, living within the vivid present time which is marching constantly into the future.
I hope that my work in this place will remind travellers that the time they take for granted, going from one place to another, and the space between, is actually very meaningful. By moving from one place to another, they are part of the magical human flow in time.”
Chris Sexton, Crossrail deputy chief executive commented: “We are delighted that the fantastic artwork by Michal Rover, inspired by the architecture of Elizabeth line station at Canary Wharf, has been unveiled today. It is the first of the ten major works of art that form The Crossrail Art Programme to be unveiled to the public.”
Camille Waxer, Canary Wharf Group, commented: “As a long standing supporter of the arts, we are delighted to provide this highly visible location for “Transitions” by renowned artist Michal Rovner, presented as an integral component of Crossrail Art Programme’s new Culture Line. Michal’s work captures the energetic movement of people travelling through London in general and Canary Wharf in particular as they head to their different destinations. We hope that Transitions will cause the public to take a moment to pause and consider the artist’s vision of London and Londoners, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to see this distinctive installation and also to experience the full collection of over 70 works of public art across the Canary Wharf estate.”
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair, City of London Corporation, commented: “The artworks featured in the Crossrail Art Programme are transforming stations on the Elizabeth line, enlivening them with bold and imaginative pieces by highly talented artists, and engaging with hundreds of thousands of commuters. Set against the backdrop of Crossrail Place and taking its place in this exciting cultural programme, Michal Rovner’s Transitions should certainly impress and intrigue those travellers as they make their way across our busy capital.”
For further information and images, please contact:
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166
Notes to Editors
About Michal Rovner
Michal Rovner (b. 1957, Israel) is known for her multimedia practice of drawing, printmaking, video, sculpture, and installation. Her work has and continues to define a new and evocative language of abstraction, broadly addressing themes of history, humanity and time. While generally avoiding specific issues or events, Rovner’s work shifts between the poetic and the political, and between current time and historical memory, raising questions of identity, dislocation, and the fragility of human existence.
Since first showcasing her video work at her Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective in 2002, Rovner has pioneered the use of the moving image as a non-narrative, non-cinematic medium for the creation of painterly images and installations which, like painting and sculpture, conjure the timeless realities in a way the narrative arts cannot. Since her landmark exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2003, Rovner has expanded her innovations in many directions, backward, into the historical realm defined by the ancient stones she used as both medium and context; and forward into technological systems that allow for novel expression of her imagery.
Transitions continues Rovner’s long-lasting public commissions including Passages, a hand-painted and animated fresco located at the Municipio train station of Naples, Italy, inaugurated in January 2015 and Weave Tokyo, a site-specific video mural projected on CHANEL’s building in Ginza Tokyo in 2006 and curated by Peter Marino Architect. The project was curated by Portuguese architects Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura. In 2018, Rovner and Foster + Partner were shortlisted for their UK Holocaust Memorial proposal.
Rovner has been the subject of over seventy solo exhibitions held at venues including The Art Institute of Chicago (1993); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1994); Tate Gallery, London (1997); Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri (2001); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002); and Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma (Al Mattatoio), Rome (2003). In 2003, Rovner was selected to represent Israel at the Venice Biennale where she presented the exhibition Against Order? Against Disorder?. In 2005, Fields was presented at Jeu de Paume in collaboration with Festival d’Automne à Paris, before traveling to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2006. Other major monographic exhibitions have been held at L’Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris (2011); Musée du Louvre, Paris, (2011); Instituto Cultural Cabañas, Guadalajara, Mexico (2014); and the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow (2015). Rovner was the recipient of the Tel Aviv Museum Award in 1997 and received an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2008, Ben-Gurion University in 2015 and Tel-Aviv University in 2016. In 2010 she received the prestigious honour “Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters”. Rovner was recently awarded the 2018 EMET prize in the culture and art category.
Her work is held in numerous collections worldwide, including The Art Institute of Chicago; Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Oświęcim, Poland; Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris; The British Museum, London; The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Jewish Museum, New York; Lambert Art Collection, Geneva; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland; Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma (Al Mattatoio); The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Authority, Jerusalem, among others.
Michal Rovner has been represented by Pace since 2003.
About Crossrail Art Programme
Nine artists are creating ten works of public art that will be integrated into seven of the new Elizabeth line stations to create a unique exhibition that reflects the ambition of London’s newest railway and the communities it serves:
- Paddington– American artist Spencer Finch’s hand drawn cloudscape ‘A Cloud Index’ is printed into the 120 metre glazed canopy above the station, co-funded by Heathrow and the City of London Corporation
- Bond Street– British artist Darren Almond has created three artworks titled ‘Horizons’, ’Train of Thought’ and ‘Timeline’, which have been integrated into the spaces above and around the escalators of the station’s western ticket hall, co-funded by Selfridges and the City of London Corporation
- Tottenham Court Road– Turner Prize winners Richard Wright and Douglas Gordon have produced distinct artworks for ticket halls at either end of the station, lead-funded by Almacantar and the City of London Corporation and co-funded by Derwent London
- Farringdon– British artist Simon Periton‘s locally inspired artworks ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Spectre’ adorn both ticket halls at the centre of the Elizabeth line route, co-funded by Goldman Sachs and the City of London Corporation
- Liverpool Street(Broadgate) –Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama is creating a new artwork for the public realm outside the station’s Broadgate ticket hall, which is co-funded by British Land and the City of London Corporation
- Liverpool Street(Moorgate) –British sculptor Conrad Shawcross is creating a new artwork for the public realm outside the station’s Moorgate ticket hall, which is co-funded by Landsec and the City of London Corporation
- Whitechapel– Inspired by the rich diversity of the local community, artist Chantal Joffe has created large-scale collages, together titled ‘A Sunday Afternoon in Whitechapel’ for the platforms of the new station in east London, funded by the City of London Corporation and Randeree Charitable Trust and with a grant from Art Fund
- Canary Wharf– a digital artwork titled ‘Transitions’ inspired by the station architecture has been developed by Michal Rovner, co-funded by Canary Wharf Group and the City of London Corporation.
In total, seven London-based galleries have been selected to support the Crossrail Art Programme. They are:
The project falls outside Crossrail’s core funding. The Crossrail Art Foundation is raising funds from corporate funders, with each contribution being match funded by the City of London Corporation.
About the Crossrail Art Foundation
The Crossrail Art Foundation was founded in 2014 with support from the City of London Corporation, with a mission to promote art for the benefit of the public by establishing and maintaining a public art programme that will enhance the journeys of the millions of people who will use the Elizabeth line.
The charity is funding the commissioning, creation, installation and maintenance of works of art at the central Elizabeth line stations. The aim of this project is to work closely with Crossrail to link the new Elizabeth line stations to their local area, and to create inspirational spaces, contributing to the cultural vibrancy of the community served by the railway.
The Crossrail Art Foundation is registered as a charity in England and Wales (1159310) and is a company limited by guarantee (company number 09200269), with its registered office at 50 Broadway, London SW1H 0BL.
The route will pass through 41 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The Transport for London (TfL) run railway will be named the Elizabeth line when services through central London open. The Crossrail project is being delivered by Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, and is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and TfL.
About Canary Wharf Group:
Canary Wharf Group plc has overseen the largest urban regeneration project ever undertaken in Europe, designing and building more than 16.5m sq ft of London real estate, which now houses local and international companies and renowned retailers.
The Canary Wharf Estate is a major retail destination comprising around 1m sq ft across five shopping malls, including the award-winning leisure development, Crossrail Place, housing one of London’s most stunning roof gardens.
It also has world-class, year-round arts and events programme offering over 200 diverse and culturally inspiring events performed throughout the Estate.
Canary Wharf Group is a wholly owned joint venture between Brookfield Property Partners and the Qatar Investment Authority.
About City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk
The City of London Corporation is the fourth largest funder of heritage and cultural activities in the UK and invests over £100m every year. In partnership with the Barbican, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London Symphony Orchestra, and Museum of London, the City Corporation is leading the development of Culture Mile between Farringdon and Moorgate, a multi-million-pound initiative to create a new cultural and creative destination for London. As part of this, the City Corporation is providing a £197m investment in the new Museum of London, which will open in West Smithfield in 2024, and £4.9m to support the development of the proposed Centre for Music.