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Memory Palace [3 artists in the library]: Launch of The Open Page by Esther Shalev-Gerz

For Immediate Release, June 12, 2009

(Vancouver, British Columbia) – The Vancouver Public Library and the City of Vancouver Public Art Program are pleased to launch The Open Page by Esther Shalev-Gerz, the final installment in the Art Program’s Memory Palace [3 artists in the library].

Prominently displayed at Library Square from now until December 2009, the works commissioned for the Aperture Project have been expanded from three to six large-scale, photo-based banners hung within the large rectangular apertures at the Central Library Promenade. The images were inspired by Ms. Shalev-Gerz’s exploration of the hidden treasures found in the Library’s Special Collections department.

Books were selected from the collection based on staff favourites and photographed using a large-format camera and special lenses to capture the hands of a library staff person at the instant of opening the book and to draw attention to each book’s remarkable craftsmanship and detail. In addition to the banners, Ms. Shalev-Gerz has also created fifteen photographic artworks related to these Special Collections books that will be displayed on six levels of the Central Library.

“The library is a space that allows for a profusion of knowledge and imagination accessible to everybody, but the materials in the Special Collections are in a distinctive space offset from the rest of the Library,” she said.
“I wanted to address and counter the limits of accessibility to these precious objects by inserting them into six levels of the Library.”

The banners created by Ms. Shalev-Gerz are now on display and the complete exhibition will be installed in mid-July.

Born in Vilnius, Lithuania, Ms. Shalev-Gerz studied at the Bezalel School of Art and Design in Israel. Since 2003, she has been Professor (adjunct) at Valand Art School, Göteborg University, Sweden. She has created numerous commissioned works for clients throughout Europe, including the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, the Trust for Castlemilk Park in Glasgow and the Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. In early 2010, the Jeu de Paume in Paris will present a major exhibition of her work.

Presented by the Vancouver Public Art Program in partnership with Vancouver Public Library, Memory Palace [3 artists in the library], is curated by Karen Love and supported by Arts Partners in Creative Development, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council, the Vancouver Foundation, the Consulat Général de France and the Library Square Endowment Fund created by Vancouver City Council in 1995.

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For more information please contact Karen Love, Curator at karenlove@telus.net

Digital images of the work available to media upon request.