Esther Shalev-Gerz, The Shadow (2018). Université de Colombie Britannique, Vancouver (Canada)
canada (Vancouver)

© esther shalev-gerz

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Esther Shalev-Gerz’s commission The Shadowembeds the ghostly silhouette of a first-growth Douglas fir across the expanse of University Commons Plaza, which is situated on the
traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Musqueam people.
A contemporary mosaic pixilated through the use of differing shades of grey paving stones, The Shadowengages pedestrians through its varied texture and tone underfoot, offering horizontal immersive perspectives.
Like a proto-photograph, The Shadow, presents an absence as a hovering memory beneath our feet and inside our minds. The Shadow summons the memories of those forgotten things
that populate our collective and individual psyches. Losing touch with the materiality that created it, we are compelled to give it the meanings of that which we see instead of
acknowledging the erasing or denial that caused it to disappear.
Growing on the eternal territory of learning, for the Musqueam people and the University, each tree carries a unique testimony of its history and surroundings. The Shadow invites to consider the scale of the trees that once existed on this site as well as the vast change that has taken place in a relatively short period of time. It establishes a dialogue between presence and absence, culture and nature, past and potential future, and through its humble invitation to a reconciliation with nature, the work meets crucial matters of our world today.

Inauguration September 16, 2018
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Permanent installation
24000 three-shade concrete pavers, 100x25m

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