Michal Rovner (b. 1957, Tel Aviv, Israel) studied cinema, television, and philosophy at Tel Aviv University before receiving a BFA. in Photography and Art from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem (1985).
In 1978 Rovner cofounded Tel Aviv’s Camera Obscura School for studies in photography, video, cinema, and computer-based art; the center was Israel’s first professional darkroom space. Rovner moved to New York City a decade later. Referencing her particular cultural heritage while simultaneously transcending it, Rovner’s work resonates on a universal level. Just as Rovner’s subjectivities inform the conceptual content of her work, her formal process follows a similar method of filtration. Rovner often rephotographs, digitizes, colorizes, and transfers her images to different media (i.e., recorded onto video, screened, and photographed on the monitor) in an effort to manipulate and continually redefine them.
Her work -- comprising canvas, film, paper, photography, and video -- has been the subject of over 40 solo shows, including “Michal Rovner” at the Art Institute of Chicago (1993), the midcareer retrospective “Michal Rovner: The Space Between” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002), and “Against Order? Against Disorder?,” hosted by the Israeli Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2003). Rovner’s video installations include Overhang (2000), a site-specific installation at the Chase Manhattan Bank on Park Avenue in Manhattan and Living Landscape (2005) at the Holocaust Museum of Yad Vashem in Israel. Her films have been screened internationally: Border premiered at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1997), and Notes, a collaboration with composer Philip Glass, was featured in the Lincoln Center Festival, New York, and was shown at the Barbican Theatre, London (2001).
Rovner has received many notable grants and awards, including the Israel Museum’s Gerard Levi Prize in recognition of the Camera Obscura School of Art’s contributions to the progress of photography in Israel (1985), four grants from the American-Israeli Culture Fund, a Certificate of Merit for Border given by the International Communications Film + Video Competition (1997), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art Award (1997), and an Artist Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts (1998).
Her work is in numerous permanent collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MACRO: Museo d’arte contemporanea Roma; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tel Aviv Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Monographs on Rovner’s work include Ani-Mal (1990), Outside: Michal Rovner, Works, 1987-1990 (1990), and The Space Between (2002).
Rovner lives and works in New York City and Israel.