Gary Hurst born South Africa and now lives in Berlin and Marseille. He makes drawings, installations, short video works, live video performances and designs sets for dance and theatre. Since 2003 he has collaborated with RaumlaborBerlin on numerous projects. His work gives form to the random relationship between the experience of the everyday and the remaining memories. He uses digital editing to create structures within which the process of remembering and memory can be visualised.


Navigational Narratives

…chronicles, made long after, shaped by the remembering process.

Hurst’s artistic practice has long been focused on video, often in collaboration with musicians, architects, theatres,  choreographers and dancers, but recently I have returned to drawings as well.  Intimate structures harbouring faces, samples, collages, insular, associative images that draw from my own biography, everyday and lifelong routine transience, as well as illuminating my preoccupying interests in zwischenraum, time, place, maps, words and music.  Set in a vocabulary images and words that translate the inbetween quality of time, place and the flow of ideas, association, dreams and the ruptures within relationships to people and place.


Many of these works explore aspects of historical events, both personal and collective with an emphasis on, migration and social relations without ever clearly drawing a the line between fiction and non-fiction. I clear systematic representations of meaning and  deconstruct narrative structures, knowing that the remaining traces will endure – loaded with connotation. This approach allows the me to investigate events from multiple perspectives, and thereby resist any single reading.



For flickering screen tired eyes, drawing demands an other time, - a slow consideration toward touch, perception and recall. Inherently intimate, instinctive visualisations of sensibility, a momentum of receptivity or idea drawn out onto the paper . They emerge from memory, observance and my nervous line, tracing the changeability of my world, folding sensations into depictions of my environment, thoughts,  physical, emotional and imagined places, looking seeing thinking studying gaining knowledge of what exists in the world. In these eerie and evocative works on paper, the nameless subject, gives up its identity, the trappings of definition and clarity to reflect the interior walls of a tenuous reality of remembering, reflections on the relation and notation of identity and memory.


Exposition “Neocodomousse” Raumlaborberlin



03. June 2016 – 09. October 2016

An Exhibition by raumlaborberlin

curated by Sophie LegrandJaque


Cet été, le collectif raumlaborberlin transforme le LiFE en chantier d’assemblage. À deux pas des chantiers navals et de leurs “immeubles flottants”, le collectif installe des modules d’architecture expérimentale réalisés à partir de matériaux des industries locales destinés au recyclage. Ces principes de construction, imaginés avec la participation des habitants de Saint-Nazaire, esquissent une autre ville possible, entre fiction et réalité. Méthodes constructives et solutions spatiales au rendez-vous !

Raumlaborberlin est un groupe d’architectes allemand qui travaille à l’intersection de l’architecture, de l’urbanisme et de l’art. Leur philosophie : une vision de l’architecture qui ne se limite pas à l’environnement construit, mais qui se définit comme un laboratoire d’idées et d’expérimentations. Par ses interventions ponctuelles et performatives, le collectif crée des usages alternatifs aux espaces communs et promeut un urbanisme centré sur les échanges avec les habitants du territoire et la valorisation des ressources locales.


In 2016 raumlaborberlin collective transformed Le LiFE, St. Nazaire into an assembly line, the collective installation of experimental architecture modules made from local industry materials for recycling. These principles of construction, imagined with the participation of the inhabitants of Saint-Nazaire, sketch another possible somewhere city between fiction and reality.

Exhibition of structures and videos exploring a future of collective living and housing. Elevator is a video portrait of the team that conceived and built Neocodemouse.  Structured on the view from the elevator in the apartment building where we all lived together while the exhibition was created. In this view the submarine bunker “LiFE”, where we worked can be seen in the harbour of St. Nazaire and Between the floors members of the team and other participant on the exhibition appear.



Elevator (Portraits)

Elevator (Portraits)

a part of the Raumlabor exhibition at LiFE, Saint Nazaire, France

close encounters

p1120033.JPG  close encounters_30.JPG



 ”Join the dots”

to the work of Gary Hurst


It’s in Gary Hurst’s work , of course, not to paint-by - numbers , even if he puts some of his works based on this idea . Not an object , but the discrepancy between a text and an image was here at the beginning . It was about Andromeda . The constellation and a related text came for Gary Hurst just not together . From the stars of Andromeda he made quickly produce a new , his own image .

This approach to create from an existing system, a new image was for a series of works on the principle . It was based on not only constellations . Diagrams , radiographs and cartographic material served as the starting point for the drawings . By abstracting any references from these starting materials patterns that Gary Hurst but free association is by an imposed principle as points or by means of lines in his drawings in relationship arise .


Cora Hegewald


“Join the dots”

zu den Arbeiten von Gary Hurst


Es geht in Gary Hursts Arbeiten natürlich nicht um Malen-nach-Zahlen, auch wenn er etwas von dieser Idee seinen Arbeiten zugrunde legt. Nicht ein Gegenstand, sondern die Diskrepanz zwischen einem Text und einem Bild stand hier am Anfang. Es ging um Andromeda. Das Sternbild und ein zugehöriger Text kamen für Gary Hurst einfach nicht zusammen. Aus den Sternen der Andromeda machte er kurzerhand ein neues, sein eigenes Bild.


Dieses Vorgehen, aus einem bestehenden System ein neues Bild zu kreieren, wurde für eine Reihe von Arbeiten zum Prinzip. Grundlage bildeten nicht nur Sternbilder. Diagramme, Röntgenaufnahmen und kartographisches Material dienten als Ausgangspunkt für die Zeichnungen. Durch die Abstraktion jeglicher Referenzen aus diesen Ausgangsmaterialien ergeben sich Muster, die Gary Hurst nach einem auferlegten Prinzip aber frei assoziierend als Punkte oder mittels Linien in seinen Zeichnungen in Beziehung setzt.


Cora Hegewald

CAtArINa’s Dictionary - Book III (sketch)

CAtArINa’s Dictionary_narrative & methodology

CAtArINa’s Dictionary Project Description


“What are you writing?” I asked.

“This is my dictionary,” she said. “I write so that I don’t forget the words. I write all the illnesses I have now, and the illnesses I had as a child.”

“Why do you call it a dictionary?” I asked.

“Because it does not require anything from me, nothing. If it were mathematics, I would have to find a solution, an answer. Here, there is only one subject matter, from beginning till the end. . . I write it and read it.”


João Biehl & Catarina Inês Gomes Moraes  

VITA Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment


 ‘CAtArINa’s Dictionary’ is a work in progress initially inspired by an essay by the anthropologist João Biehl ‘A Life: Between Psychiatric Drugs and Social Abandonment’. Struck by the dialogues and excerpts centring around the anthropologists main protagonist Catarina in his book ‘Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment’. In an appendix at the back of the book there are the 19 parts of Catarina’s dictionary. These texts address a universal spectrum of issues that include sexism, paternity, abuse and poverty, presented from a highly personal perspective. It is my hope to bring these texts to the fore in an installation and performance.

In memory of MR 2015



This work began in 2012 shortly after the sudden and unexpected death of a dear friend, Matthias Rick. Initially as a print and then this animation. Each layer is a chapter of The Work of Mourning by Jacques Derrida, which I read on the U8 between home and Tempelhofer Feld where we were building The World is not Fair - Die Große Weltausstellung

After the opening of the World is not Fair I stopped working on it, put it away and I never finished it – somehow I never found the space, could not access the loss. The video is finished, the loss remains.




 Matthias Rick 22 November 1965 – 28 April 2012

One-armed Bandit



Reverberations:- Violence Across Time & Space

Istanbul March 2015 

This video triptych comprising of One-armed Bandit, Ravel and My house is my gold!  was developed as a part of The Remnants Project with Dr. Alice von Bieberstein of Dept. of Anthropology, University of Cambridge, between 2013-15 in Kurdistan, Turkey. We developed di stinct ethnographic methodologies and innovative conceptual and visual frameworks for the study of subjectivity, materiality, and temporality in the currency as well as aftermath of politically instigated violence.

The  video featured at an exhibition held in Istanbul in 2015. I was invited to participate in a project with the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in Turkish Kurdistan. The project was titled “Living with Remnants”. Conducted during the period of the truce between the PKK and the Turkish Government (2013-2015), the mission of anthropologists was to establish a record of the material traces left in Turkey by communities that had suffered extermination or deportation; To study the place taken by these vestiges in the experience of those who live today in the shadow of this memory. Beyond the material remains, the remanence of memory was the central object of their study, which led them to collect, among others, the testimonies of Turkish Kurds victims of property speculation in districts of the city of Muş formerly inhabited by the Armenian community decimated in the genocide of 1915.



Hunting for treasures, or ‘Armenian gold’ as it is sometimes also referred to, is an affectively charged affair that becomes an obsession for many men throughout what was once also Western Armenia (current-day Northern Kurdistan or Eastern Turkey). It is an explorative and speculative endeavour that involves assembling social relations, technologies and knowledge towards the hope and promise of a redemptive discovery. Symbols of all kinds and historical periods, but preferably the Christian symbolism attached to remnants of Armenian life in the area become the target of treasure hunters. What they leave behind is rubble, sand and holes in the ground.




Dr. Alice von Bieberstein


“Ravel” is a video portrait of a family in the city of Mûş in Turkey.

My house is my gold! 2015 (English-Turkish)

 My house is my gold! 2015

Mapping Moabit

Mapping Moabut

Kurt-Kurt / Art and Context City Laboratory in Berlin-Moabit, 4 - 21 September 2014




In Mapping Moabit, Moabit is re- surveyed and vanishes in abstraction. Unimagined connections and relationships are identified and yet conceal their origin. Gary Hurst’s drawings create a never before seen image of this remarkable island in the middle of Berlin.







10 Dresdener

10 Dresdener

Träume - Neue Dresdner erinnern sich


8. März bis 12. Oktober 2014

Ein Projekt des Deutschen Hygiene-Museums

Es ist eine Ausstellung mit statt über Migranten. Zu den beeindruckendsten Exponaten gehört eine Installation des Berliner Videokünstlers Gary Hurst. Überlebensgroß werden die Gesichter von zehn neuen Dresdnern mit Wurzeln im Westjordanland, Brasilien oder Vietnam an die Wand geworfen, dazu erzählen sie in einer Endlosschleife von ihren Hoffnungen, Enttäuschungen und Träumen. Da beklagt sich einer, dass die Deutschen „so wenig lachen“. Eine andere sagt: „Gesucht habe ich hier nichts, gefunden habe ich die Liebe – mehrmals.“ Und ein Dritter erklärt optimistisch: „In ein paar Jahren wird Deutschland noch multikultureller sein. Deutschland wird diese Fragen nicht mehr stellen, wer woher kommt.“

Ausstellung “Das neue Deutschland” in Dresden Stolz und Vorurteil

Der Tagesspiegel 18.03.2014 Christian Schröder



A walk through rooms one and two in the exhibition. There are two video installations by me. “Unterwegs. Eine Filminstallation / On the move. A film installation” is based on an idea by by Arved Schultze.

PREFACE II be-imaged speech

Text is from the The Discourse on Language by Michel Foucault

Read by Elsa Houcade

video • gary hurst 2013



“The manifestation of a face is the first disclosure. Speaking is before anything else this way of coming from behind one’s appearance, behind one’s form, an openness in the openness.”
Emmanuel Lévinas - Meaning and Sense


In the video Preface II text appears in translation and partially reveals the speaker as she speaks. This video is concerned with translation, speech, writing - with the face being the first disclosure. Here, I am interested in language speaking through us; language revealing us.


PREFACE I be-imaged speech



PREFACE I - be-imaged speech, 2011

Le livre des questions by Edmond Jabès,  dialoge “Au seuil du livre”


When a language is barely comprehensible the eyes  look to the  face of the speaker,  caught in that lapse between the mouth moving, the words spoken, heard and perhaps translated.


Preface I is the first of a series of video portraits of texts by various authors. Elsa Hourcade reads the dialogue “Au seuil du livre” from Le livre des questions. A voice speaks in french, text appears upon a white background — the English translation of the words spoken. Line by line, text emerge from a point on the page, crawling over the screen, writing that slowly, but never completely, reveals the reader’s face.

The idea of a dialogue being read, aloud, in a single voice, emphasising the internal quality of the text. Central is the idea that face, as a whole, is contained within the voice and the text, but is never more than partially revealed, either in image or words.

The structure of the work allows a certain ambiguity in how it can be looked at. Looking can involve reading or not, listening or not, reading and listening and looking, or just looking thus emphasising the dialogue(s) between the original and its translation, between text and image, between reader and listener.

In Preface 1 the dialogue between the text and the image mirrors that of two voices of the text being read.

In Preface 2 the text is very different, a singular voice hoping “to be enveloped in words”, to be a kind of channel, to be revealed in the words of an other.



18-20 June 2015

EMMA – Université Paul-Valéry, Montpellier

Cinéma Utopia, Montpellier

somethings of nothing

Hellerau Dresden July 2011

valentina càbro • choeography & dance

sascha henkel • music

gary hurst • video


music by winterberg


music by winterberg


music by winterberg



Vertige is one of three works commissioned by comédie de caen for le tabularium from achive footage of the planning, construction and development of hérouville-saint-clair. The audio in Vertige is samples from the narration of  Alain Resnais ’s Toute la mémoire du monde, which is about the organisation of the Bibliothèque Nationale (national library) from which I removed all references to the word Livre (book). The video is a reflection on utopian ideas of archive, organisation and architecture.