Rina Ginossar: An Old Sight Too Has a Moment of Birth
(J. Porat's Works in Oil and
Mixed Media on Paper and Cardboard, 2000-2005)
"An old sight too has a moment
of birth", the opening line of Alterman's poem "Moon", appears
in one of J. Porat's works from 2003, written in his own hand as
one of the elements of the painting, similar to other texts
which Porat has embedded in much of his work since the year
2000. Apparently during these years Porat has been engaging in
dialogues, on the one hand with culture heroes and artists
(especially writers and poets such as Alterman, Yehuda Amichai,
Franz Kafka and Fernando Pessoa), while on the other hand,
perhaps most importantly, with paintings of his own from earlier
The written word, given due
respect, is placed in an exciting concert of shapes and color.
This combination and communication of color, drawing and the
written word comprise an integration worthy of attention. It is
a concert in which color seems to be frame and background but is
truly the soloist that focuses the eye of the viewer. J. Porat
is a poet of color.
His own works with which Porat
engages in dialogue in some of his paintings, are mostly
miniature "sights" created many years earlier (in the 1980's),
were never exhibited, and here they have a new "birth", thereby
realizing Alterman's words quoted above, that "an old sight too
has a moment of birth".
The structure of most of the
works is one of windows, a single window or many windows,
playing in beautiful yellow and other tones, while in and
between them appears a carnival of figures in color and drawing
(sometimes precisely figurative on the border of the realistic
and sometimes barely hinted at). Some of the figures are
realistic while others are totally phantasmal: people, animals,
fauns, monsters, devils, birds, masks and other magical
creatures. Here and there among them is a dominant figure which
attracts full attention, such as the face of a young woman,
black-haired and bare-breasted, or the head of a faun.
The "windows" fulfill the
function of organizing, connecting, confronting and unifying at
one and the same time. They offer the viewer a frame which
permits focusing on the entirety and the ephemeral "Kafkaesque"
which arouses wonder, stimulation and curiosity. They are Lego
bricks which constantly build new castles.
All these, as well as the
contents of the texts and their contexts, create effects of
nonsense, humor and wit, which lead to a productive
confrontation with the titles of some of the works, such as "The
Human Condition 2003". The works in general have the quality of
spirals: on the face of it, a style which repeats itself, but in
practice, at familiar crossroads, it rises to a higher level.
And then again there is a new variation, surprising and
"tongue-in-cheek", according to a familiar dictionary to which
new building blocks and combinations are constantly added, a new
window opens, a different and new solution appears.
With the help of these basic
steps the rhythm constantly changes: runs, walks, skips, and
creates a wonderful dialogue, leaving the viewer eager for more.
Translated from the Hebrew by