“Return to Zdunska Wola” shows, from my point of view, the disappearance that occurred in 1942 with the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto by the Nazis and the assassination of almost my entire Zdunska Wola family
This return and renewal was made possible by K’amila Klauzinska, citizen of the city, (involved with the history of Zdunska Wola and Jewish studies), who saw my work on Facebook and invited me to participate in the cultural and artistic events, this month, in the Museum of Zdunska Wola, by an exhibition of my works screened on TV…(see below the invitation).
This in some way summarize and shows the path of return to Zdunska Wola 2014 of myself and my family , 72 years after 1942….
My works in this exhibition are not meticulous drawings, on the contrary thy where created in moments of pressure of the events in 1941, but, by a person who lives in 2014 and remembers his own fears as a child hidden from the Nazis for four years in Belgium (1940-1944).
Still the drawings are “ordinary” but supposedly created in Zdunska Wola 1941, 72 years back in time as if I where some kind of alien coming from the “Planet 2014 … ”
And Indeed my signature at the bottom of the works symbolize this: “2014………Z.W. 1941…..”name of the work”,,,,,,, שלמה “… Something like a code or more exactly- a password to my past, named Zdunska Wola.
Dear ZdunskaWolers around the globe:
To see a short film on his works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmWD0Nv6fa4&feature=share
A short note on the video.
The music from Darius Milhaud’s “La Creation du Monde”, the drawings of mine, after Chris Marker’s movie “la Jetee”, telling a story about WW3 and the titles of the short episodes relating to the names of the typewriters from William Burroughs book “Naked Lunch” tells the story of Zdunska Wola’s “Interzone” in WW2.
“A chat from the past” depict in my proper time, today: June 25 2011 Israel, events from another time in the year 1941, during WW2 in Zdunska Wola, Polin.
The pictures show my father mother and myself, who survived the holocaust, transferred to Zdunska Wola of WW2, working as tailors.
All the pictures are clickable..
To see more pictures, download “A Chat from the Past” in PDF format.
My above drawing is an improvisation representing (perhaps) our entombment or resurrection embedded in our new virtual neighborhood.
Not so long ago our neighborhood was perceived as the outdoor scene: the street with all his ramifications traffic and people. Every direction under the sun the rain or the snow was an open playfield . Today a new playfield , the ‘TwitterFacebook’ band, is emerging as a new social religion with his rituals and daily imperatives. Mother nature herself, under her urban mode or her outdoor mode, is under the direct heavy attack of the ‘TwitterFacebook’ band or gang, chose the epithet you like.
great painters painted Crucifixions, Entombments and Resurrections. See Grunewald’s altarpiece, left. Or in our modern time Francis Bacon’s modern crucifixion, right.
If so, why not create the artworks needed to glorify the new ‘TwitterFacebook’ church? With their Membership of about 700 millions people, see here and here, the Vatican himself may feel like an endangered species. And it is worth to note that hordes of Christian Jewish and Islamic believers are members of the new church, holding a two headed passport to their new heaven…
Anyway, the time is ripe to paint the new Crucifixions, Entombments and Resurrections and to canonize the new Saints of the church in cathedrals a la Frank Ghery.
A practicing member of the church:
Francis Bacon’s studio.
It is a stunning experience to discover how works in the artist’s studio, compared in terms of their exhibition in a respectable gallery or in a museum, represent almost two incompatible worlds.
Francis Bacon’s studio has those qualities of incompatible worlds, a place of anarchy, where like the medieval alchemists he transmuted by some secret process, random moves and thoughts into a work we see later in a golden frame on the wall of a well renowned museum….. “Of his cluttered studio, Bacon said ‘I feel at home here in this chaos because chaos suggests images to me.’ ” read more here.
The painting in the studio.
The painting in a museum.
In fact there are two artworks, the one inside his studio and the other exhibited at the museum. Are they the same artwork?
Paraphrasing on the work of the mathematician Gregory Chaitin : it can be said that in terms of algorithmic complexity the genesis of the work in the studio is perhaps irreducible, because ‘Francis Bacon’s work in his studio‘ is some sort of human algorithm that cannot be written into a program with lesser bits than ‘Francis Bacon’s work in his studio‘ and is therefore random or as Francis Bacon says above, born from the chaos. On the other hand the artwork inside the museum can be copied by anyone with some artistic skills by saying to himself ‘Make a Francis Bacon’.
Moreover what my apply to Francis Bacon in his studio may apply to any artist in any studio if he act in some unpredictable way. Not distancing himself from mechanical procedures learned in art schools or falling under the influence of some authoritative teacher is a recipe of nice mediocrity.
So, has the artist any principles or theories at his disposal.. or is he, with them or without them, irreducibly what he is.
Below: Francis bacon in his studio.
The SketchUp free application from Google is more than a nice 3D architecture software. For me the word ‘more‘ in the above sentence points to the manner I use SketchUp.
I am not an architect, so I have no prejudices and no previous learning on how exactly to plan any building. But my use of the application create unfamiliar forms, shapes and volumes always on their way to something unpredictable
The Push/Pull tool and the Move/Copy tools used in non orthodox moves, not planned but more on the verge of a a spontaneous instinctive ‘line drawing’ feeling, produces a first unpredictable picture ‘Out of the Blue‘, as the song by John Lennon.
And indeed the first picture’s appearance is in a non habitat mood. But when rotating the picture and taking snapshots at different intervals, more unpredictable views came into ‘being’, views which I never planned.
The SketchUp application acted here as a black box device: I made the first input, the black box did the rest by outputting the latter pictures.
Below. The black box output, (click to enlarge).
A technical note: After resuming the above pictures in SketchUp 8, I exports them in tiff format to Photoshop, making color and contrast adjustments to get the above final views.
ABOVE: Borges Finite Labyrinth Comics 1. Rooms 1-13. (Click on the image to make it larger).
(The featured picture header is Kurt Godel, whose incompleteness theorem is not so far away from Borges and his labyrinth..)
When you stumble upon the unpredictable try to look at it with a bare eye. With this context in mind and in a speculative way, consider this:
I like comics but I don’t like to surrender to all the known rules for drawing them. So stripping away their glorious colored feathers from their trendy hats was for me an act of insurgence and an act of rejuvenation.
In the making of the above drawing I had the unpredictable vision that it was not a conventional comics layout I am drawing into. In my perverse view, the bounding boxes are not boxes at all. For me they delimit rooms, a succession of rooms in a Jorge Louis Borges finite Labyrinth.
In the same vein and from another angle, without speculation, JGBallard, writing prose in a non conventional way , named his novels “The Atrocity Exhibition” condensed novels. Here is what he says in an interview by James Goddard and David Pringle:
..”These condensed novels [in The Atrocity Exhibition] are like ordinary novels with the unimportant pieces left out. But it’s more than that — when you get the important pieces together … not separated by great masses of ‘he said, she said’ and opening and shutting of doors, ‘following morning’ and all this stuff — the great tide of forward conventional narration — it achieves critical mass as it were, it begins to ignite and you get more things being generated. You’re getting crossovers and linkages between unexpected and previously totally unrelated things, events, elements of the narration, ideas that in themselves begin to generate new matter.”.. read more on Ballardian.
And on a more actual note. Is Lady Gaga, reinventing herself, with every new costume a la Jean Paul Gaultier, in the same formal way JG Ballard invented his condensed novels? Or in the same way as all comics layout can be viewed as an immense Jorge Louis Borges labyrinth of rooms? Is Lady Gaga’s Alejandro, armed with a ‘binocular’, her true reminiscence from Chris Marker’s film La Jetee (February 1962), see pictures below, or is it an accidental event connecting them together.. into an unpredictable forced violent dance party.
Lady Gaga from Alejandro.
Chris Marker‘s movie La Jetee ( The Pier)
BELOW:Borges Finite Labyrinth Comics 2 . Rooms 1-19. (Click on the image to make it larger).
On a personal note. After the closing of my last exhibition at the Kibbutz Gallery, I felt the need to rethink how my exhibition, receiving a modest response, survived this traumatic chaotic art event amid the outside labyrinth of curators, museums, galleries, art dealers , auctions, hordes of artists each one confined in his solipsist studio, the art academies with their aspirating students , the art critics vagaries consecrating, expulsing or ignoring whoever is not in good terms with their private agendas.
A second moment of rethinking the whole situation was caused by an insidious though: what if it was not my exhibition but that of a yet unknown modern Rembrandt?
Well this is indeed a bizarre though. To prevent any mistake I declare that I am not the man to incarnate any Rembrandt at all. And to prove it here is a drawing I made in 2007, named ‘Joseph telling his dream’ representing the biblical story of Joseph and his brothers:
My drawing does not show how Joseph told his dreams to his father and brothers. Instead we see wiggles representing Feynman diagrams hinting to the underground world of possibilities and incertitude hiding under our seemingly solid classical world represented by Rembrandt classical etching made in 1668.
So, in complete antithesis too my above drawing, Rembrandt’s famous original etching with the same name (see below) is in terms of virtuosity, empathy for the biblical story and his overall genius in building the psychological portrait etched in the copper plate and the vibrancy of the printed etching –rocketing the sky of what we accept today as the ultimate art canon. Attributes I can not claim for my drawing.
Well his actual universal fame was historically not always the case:
…”Rembrandt is now universally considered one of the greatest painters who ever lived. This was not always the case. In his lifetime he was ranked below the Italians and certainly below his contemporary Rubens. Some considered him to be the greatest Dutch painter, but many would not have accorded him even this lower status.”.. see more on Genius Ingnored
So perhaps I rephrase my insidious tough: What if it was not my exhibition but that of an alien genius, acting as a modern Rembrandt? How would we identify him today in year 2010. One thing is pretty sure he wouldn’t paint like the 16th century Rembrandt. The curators or critics or the so called connoisseurs, equipped with their conventional art tools, would look at him with a blind eye and consecrate their human Rembrandt according to their no-alien art canon when faced with the emerging of the unfamiliar.
Lets not forget that one of the most praised attribute of his painting was the dazzling blaze of light his vision invented trough the use of oil colors. And if so, wouldn’t the modern alien Rembrandt be fascinated by the actual theory of light: massless photon traveling in spacetime under quantum mechanical rules, and ‘ paint’ with them directly his new version of the biblical “Joseph telling his dream”?
Well, in a similar vain, the architectural imagination of Lebbeus Woods, an experimental architect with an extraordinary drawing mastery, inspired him to think and visualize a Cenotaph commemorating A. Einstein as a spaceship in deep space (reminding me of Artur C. Clarke‘s novel Rendervous with Rama) , and as he posted on his blog:
“The Einstein Tomb project was created as a memorial to the life and work of Albert Einstein, a symbolic structure in the same spirit as Boullee’s Cenotaph to Isaac Newton. Because the self-effacing Einstein—who transformed physics as much as Newton before him—explicitly stated that after his death he wanted no such memorial as a site of veneration, I designed it to be launched into deep space, traveling on a beam of light, never to be seen in terrestrial space and time. However, owing to the gravity-warped structure of space (which Einstein’s greatest work—his theory of gravitation—described) it would return to Earth in sidereal time, an infinite number of times, or at least until the end of time and space at the death of the universe.”.. see more on his blog.
Source: Lebbeus Woods
The above drawing, representing Einstein’s cenotaph in outer space, is literally light years away from the usual cenotaphs. In the same way our contemporary art pundits are light years away from the modern unknown Rembrandt, perhaps their next door exhibiting artist.
Let me just say a the very beginning that this post is about Chris Marker’s film “La Jetee”, WW3 and the pseudo-comics drawings in black , white and gray I made of the film. And If I may quote Geoff Manaugh’s book “The Bldg Blog” see here, he said :
…” In other words, forget academic rigor. Never take the appropriate next step. Talk about Chinese urban design. the European space program, and landscape in the film oh Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences– because it’s fun, and the juxtaposing might take you somewhere..”…
..Then my juxtaposing of things of all sorts may indeed lead to unpredictable results for the worst or for the best…
The arrest of the Russian spy ring in the USA resurrect a relic from the old cold war style between the USA and Russia. . With this antecedent in mind, the “flotilla war” between Turkey and Israel is a sort of new ‘relic’ to be enshrined in the temple of terrorist provocation produced by the Brothers Hanya, Hamas leader and the Turkish PM Erduan.
Now, from Jeremiah A. 14 we know the verse: “And the Lord said to me: the north will open all the evil inhabitants of the land”, and in our case it is very tempting to call the axe of evil Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, and his new recruit Turkey’s ‘flotilla war’, the prelude to a possible WW3.
Chris Marker’s 29 minute film, La Jetée, is a very special film about the aftermath of WW3 . The movie first appeared in 1962 in the era of the Cold War, an era which also gave birth to the Internet.
Marker’s vision of life just after WW3 in La Jetée is set in the underground passageways of Paris. Aboveground the planet is uninhabitable because of radioactivity.
What impressed me most at first view in his movie, was the visual darkness on the screen. The atmosphere of claustrophobic darkness in daylight. The imminence of the apocalyptic in the seemingly pleasantness of the survivors everyday life . My own feelings are visual feelings. They where forced upon me without knowing the narrative of the movie, having muted by inadvertence the soundtrack . And so I began drawing what I see on the screen without knowing the narrative.
Chris Marker says:
..” Marker shot La Jetée during gaps in the shooting of Le joli mai (1963), an anatomy of May ’62 in Paris. In a 2003 interview, he said of La Jetée, “It was made like a piece of automatic writing . . . I photographed a story I didn’t completely understand. It was in the editing that the pieces of the puzzle came together, and it wasn’t me who designed the puzzle.” This could be taken as a tribute to editor Jean Ravel, but also as a testament to the unconscious forces that appear to drive the story: La Jetée can certainly be read as an allegory of psychoanalysis, in which a supine subject searches in his unconscious for the origins of his trauma.”…see more here on criterion.com.
But my own feelings are indeed only a trompe l’oeil because the film is a science fiction story about time travel and memory without the today high-tech pyromania and extravagance:
…” La Jetée‘s narrative—in which an unnamed hero, living in a Parisian postwar radioactive wasteland, is sent back in time by scientists to find sustenance or a source of energy—is a Möbius strip, returning paradoxically to its point of origin to swallow its own tail and engender itself once more. Because these missions follow the route of inner space, via the travelers’ memories, “the man whose story we are telling” is considered an especially apt subject: he is fixated on a single memory. As a child, he witnessed an unexplained scene of violence at Orly Airport, involving a man falling and the shocked reaction of a beautiful woman.”…see more here on criterion.com.
Anyway, the discrepancy between the complete film narrative, sound and pictures, and what I first saw on my muted mac screen, blocked my rational judgment of any inevitable meta dissection exemplified by the following quotation :
…”However, as each one of La Jetée’s static images lasts considerably longer than 1/24 of a second, on celluloid each still in La Jetée actually comprises dozens of replicas of itself. In presenting us with a series of frozen images, Marker dramatizes a breakdown of time’s invisible flow into a succession of visible moments that might be considered the individual atoms of time, and of our experience of time. Indeed, when the film’s hero journeys into the distant future, that new world is represented as a series of microscope images“…
Such meta dissection of the movie and knowing his narrative would fix and amplify in my mind an imposed story of La Jetee.
So when viewing the film on my mac screen, (the screen affecting the picture by his own hardware specifications), and pausing the screening at pictures without reference to their original story, I create my own visual impression composed of missing knowledge: sound and narrative; and added knowledge: the axis of evil , the flotilla, ww3 , the Russian spy ring included in this post– both missing and added knowledge injected into the drawings new incertitudes of relevance and irrelevance. Or would I say is it the sole viable procedure to remain in the no man’s land of lost and new identities and found objects?
Here are a few of the drawings.
As a footnote I bring here what JG Ballard wrote on Chris Marker’s film:
See more On JG Ballard on Wikipedia.