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Novembre à Vitry 2015 – International Painting Prize

November 15th – December 13th 2015

opening and announcement of the laureats : Saturday, November 21st at 6pm

INSTALLATION NACHLEBEN BY AMERICAN ARTIST TALI GAI PAYS
HOMAGE TO CHILDREN DEPORTED FROM FRANCE DURING WWII –
SELECTED BY CITY OF PARIS FOR PUBLIC ART EVENT
“NUIT BLANCHE (OFF)” OCTOBER 3, 2015

The installation Nachleben (Afterlife) by American artist Tali Gai pays homage to the children deported from schools throughout France during WWII. Gai’s project was selected by the City of Paris to participate in the annual public art event “Nuit Blanche (OFF)” in which large-scale artworks will be placed in spaces throughout Paris for one night on October 3, 2015.

Gai’s installation will be placed in front of the elementary school 8/10 Hospitalières Saint-Gervais in the Marais, Paris, which is one of many schools whose students were involved in the deportations.

Nachleben is composed of long narrow mirrors of differing sizes, ranging from six feet to 10 inches that will be placed one in front of another and lean against the facade of the school. Behind each mirror is a fragment of an image of a deported child. The mirrors are placed in descending order in such a way so as to hide and reveal at the same time, the photographs on the back of each mirror. The images make reference to the school’s commemorative plaque in memory of the deported children. As visitors see their own image in the mirror, they will also simultaneously see the image of a deported child.

“The aim of the installation is to create an experience of surprise and confusion between two temporalities: the present of the spectator and the past history that lingers and emanates from this site,” says Tali Gai. This strange tension between the past and the present awakens the aura of the historical image and gives it a second life in the present. This second life or afterlife, like the term nachleben used by art historian Aby Warburg or survivances used by art historian Georges Didi-Huberman, gives the actors of the past a haunting voice in the present. “

The principal theme behind Tali Gai’s artwork is to reassert the past into the present. She selects historical images that are already strange or paradoxical and augments their strangeness by transforming the original image into a Rorschach-type abstraction. This is achieved by doubling the image, erasing certain parts, and hanging the paintings in such a way that makes the figurative image ambiguous and less recognizable.

Tali Gai’s artwork has been featured in galleries in Europe and the United States, including gallery Estace in Paris, the St. Botolph Club in Boston, and Artspace in New Haven, Connecticut. She is the recipient of awards and honors, including the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship at the Fondation des Etats-Unis at Cité universitaire in Paris, and a Doctoral Fellowship in Fine Arts and Sciences of Art at the Sorbonne. Gai received a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a Masters degree in Fine Arts from the Sorbonne.