Jacob Porat - Conversations with Kafka

Opening speech, Wyszkow, 4 April, 2006

Saying I am not excited would be untrue…” Since I opened with this concrete and exact sentence this exhibition in Prague, on the 19 of January 2004 – and the fact that since then this exhibition has been exhibited over ten times in various towns in the Czech Republic and in Poland - proves, that the opening of an exhibition remains always an exciting event for an artist – I believe for every artist.

For me personally this exhibition has all the more reasons for making me especially excited as it deals with and is devoted entirely to Franz Kafka and his work, which I admire, as well as the fact that my works are being shown here in Poland, the country of my birth; - I would like in this context to express my hearty thanks to Mr. Yaakov Finkelstein, the cultural attaché at the Israeli Embassy and to his loyal and efficient assistant Jacek Olejnik; and primarily of course to Andrzej Sawicki – the director of this gallery – for his enthusiastic and professional work.

Some summary facts regarding the exhibition:

This exhibition was born basically as a result of my First visit to Prague: It was in February 2000 that I arrived in Prague acutely aware that I was about to visit Kafka's city but with no plans for preparing an exhibition about him. It was only when I returned to Israel, having looked at the photographs I hade taken in Prague and after digesting the visit that the idea began to develop…

In May 2001, 15 months after my first visit in Prague, I opened my first exhibit of this theme under the kind patronage of the Czech Embassy in Israel and the honorable Ambassador, then - Mr. Daniel Kumermann.

Two years later on June 2003 I opened the same exhibit at the Goethe-Institute in Tel Aviv. This exhibit included till then 25 works –exactly half of the amount existing and being shown today. The other 25 works were created in the period between the opening in the Goethe institute and the opening in Prague on January 2004.


I will finish with a remark regarding the creative process of these works and their interpretation-options:

The works in the present exhibition were created with a complete lack of intention of illustrating specific writings by Franz Kafka; they do not even seek to provide an interpretation for his specific works. For this reason none of the works are titled [in other words, the title of each and every one of the works is “untitled”]. On the other hand, I did have a premeditated aspiration, which I hope I have succeeded in attaining, to present in them and through them the Kafka being, which his writings emit, the way I understand it. More than anything else, I have tried to present the humor (usually bitter and ironical) as well as the terror that emanates from his works.

Even so, my testimonial about the paintings creative process in no way contradicts the possibility that visitors might detect in my works elements that relate somehow to specific Kafka's works. This would be legitimate from any point of view, because from the moment a work of art – be it a painting, a novel or any work of art in whatever medium - sees light, it becomes an object that everyone is entitled and capable of interpreting. The creator has no privilege or advantage in terms of interpretation over other people, who are not the creators. I will not tire you with the reasoning for this assertion. I prefer for you to spend the time looking at my works, and hopefully enjoying them.

I would like to thank all of you for having come to this opening and shared this evening with my art and myself.

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