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Michal Rovner

Site L/M, Israel, 2006

Video collage

Courtesy of the artist and Pace Wildenstein Gallery, New York

“Fields of Fire” are Rovner’s impressions from her visit to the oil fields of Khazakhstan. “Oil, with all its economic, political and ecological implications, is clearly the focus of global attention. When I arrived there, I looked for an image that would summarize that, but at the same time would also summarize the sense of the place. It is a place without landscape, where landscape offers a bare minimum. Like a blank canvas. I related to two elements; the first were the pump jacks drilling the oil – after all, this is what this whole thing is about, a race for energy, which I see as something both mythical and contemporary. The second thing I saw there was eternal fire.”

Says Michal Rovner in an interview with Tali Shamir in ‘Globes’ newspaper.

“…And at the thought of this she became angry, and asked if it was allowable that men should thus spoil the work of nature, a land so blest, of such exquisite beauty where all climates were to be found – the sloping plains, the temperate mountain-sides, the perpetual snows of the lofty peaks. And her love of life, her ever buoyant hopefulness, filled her with enthusiasm at the idea of the all-powerful magic wand with which science and speculation could strike this old sleeping soil, and suddenly reawaken it (…) And it was just this that she saw rising again – the forward irresistible march, the social impulse towards the greatest possible sum of happiness, the need of action, of going ahead, without knowing exactly whither … and amid it all there was the globe turned upside down by the ant-swarm rebuilding its abode, its work never ending, fresh sources of enjoyment ever being discovered, man’s power increasing tenfold, the earth belonging to him more and more everyday.”

From Money by Emile Zola (translated by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly)