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Becoming (2021)


Explores the fundamental relationship between creation and entropy through the canonical structure imposed by museums upon their collections. In the artist’s studio, images of paintings drawn from the postcard collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam are printed onto analogously sized sheets of glass and then carefully arranged on a specially constructed wall that mimics a traditional postcard display. Order cedes to chaos as each wall of glass is methodically shattered. Recorded by the camera at the instant of destruction, a new space of creation emerges. In this photographic space, Gersht visualizes the entropic forces that these institutional systems resist as the images shatter into dispersed fragments of collective memory, perhaps returning to the state of disorder from which they originated.


In Wall 01, a large-scale work constructed with over 250 postcards from the Metropolitan Museum, pivotal art historical works from the 16th – 19th centuries are shown at the moment of collapse. In the companion piece Wreckage Upon Wreckage, comprised of the shattered fragments from Wall 01, the strata of art history coalesce into a single plane, undermining the linearity imposed by the institutions. In this unregulated chaos, a treasure hunt of new compositions and narratives materializes. Gersht states:


“I’m very much aware of my own entropy — a desire to keep everything organized, knowing that this effort is doomed. This is about my own existence — an understanding that eventually, as soon as I let go of order, my life will pass away. In all my work there is a tension between a desire to hold on to something, to have some form of eternal assurance — and then a submission to the ephemeral, to the awareness that things fall apart.”

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