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Re-discovering the Jewish World: The First Exhibition of Jewish Paintings in Finland

Posted 11/4/2011

Re-discovering the Jewish World: The First Exhibition of Jewish Paintings in Finland

The artist's works evoke quite a powerful reminding of the tragedy of the Jewish people. But what is more, his works also widen perspective and deepen the concept of the Jewish spiritual world.

One part of the Michael's Jewish paintings reflects a general Belonging to Jewishness, Jewish philosophy, traditions and their rich spirit. All of it the painter himself has inherited with a son's love.

Rogatchi's approach to this theme is creative - we can see that traditional Judaic symbols have got an original and fresh interpretation in his works Family Supper and Kaddish. The artist luckily has found a delicate balance while creating this world, an exceptional combination of wisdom and tenderness. The best sample of such a combination is Lullaby. Portrait of the Artist's Mother, which truly is a wonderful portrait of the artist's mother. That painting is an indisputable success in Jewish 'iconography.' It reminds one of the tenderness and sorrow of Chagall, but Rogatchi adds clearly post-Chagall steadfastness and resolution in this painting.

Another part of Michael Rogatchi's Jewish Collection is the dramatic works dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The artist succeeded in achieving a maximum effect by using a minimum of means. Both laconic and impressive is the artist's idea in The Final Solution: there is the Hassidic hat which has been as if just dropped onto a pedestrian street. The pedestrian street is spotless, after hours and hours during which kneeled Jews brushed it with toothbrushes being forced to do it by the Nazis. Next to the hat there are crushed glasses, as if it has happened just a few moments ago. There are no Jews, no Nazis, no toothbrushes in the painting - just a hat and glasses on the pedestrian street, and the wall. And a few small stones nearby... Michael Rogatchi did succeed in this painting to portray a symbol of the entire nation's extermination in a very tasteful and decent manner. Nobody who saw that painting once, is going to forget it.


Tatjana Tolonen, art critique, Finland and St Petersburg.

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