Based in Paris, Esther Shalev-Gerz is internationally recognized for her seminal contributions to the field of art in the public realm and her consistent investigation into the construction of memory, history, the natural world, democracy and cultural identities. Her works challenge the notion and practice of portraiture and consider how its qualities may contribute to contemporary discourse about the politics of representation.
Her monuments, installations, photography, video and public sculpture are developed through active dialogue, consultation and negotiation with people whose participation provides an emphasis to their individual and collective memories, accounts, opinions and experiences which then become both represented and considered.
Constantly inquiring into transitional qualities of time and space and the correlative transformation of identities, locales and (hi)stories Esther Shalev-Gerz has produced a body of work that simultaneously records, critiques, and contributes to our understandings of the societal roles and value of artistic practice.
Esther Shalev-Gerz, born Gilinsky, was born in Vilnius, Lithuania. Her family moved to Jerusalem in 1957. She graduated with a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, 1979. She lived in New York in 1980-1981. Since 1984 she lives and works between Paris and Cortes Island, Canada. She had received grants and generous support from, among others, the DAAD, Berlin in 1990, from IASPIS Stockholm in 2002, from The Wolfsonian, FIU, Miami in 2011, from the QoG Institute, Göteborg University, Sweden in 2011 and from the Swedish Research Council in 2010-2013. From 2003 to 2015 she was a Professor in the MA at Valand Art School, Göteborg University Sweden.