CREATION EPISODES IN PICTURES
Part I of II
What to imagine while visualising the Creation?
There are endless efforts of artistic imagination of Bereishit, from Renaissance masters (and before), through Chagall’s Bible series, until intent simplicity of Barnett Newman who did address the process of Creation on his abstract canvases , and engaging harmony of Nehemia Azaz in his splendid stained-glass windows at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in London.
While working on my BEREISHIT ILLUSTRATED series which is a process in making from 2020 onward, I wanted to be as close to the principal source and some important commentaries as possible, and at the same time to bring some new perspectives into visualizing the Bereishit, the process of Creation.
Previously, in my series on Jewish mysticism, I dealt with pre-Creation matters, such as Primordial elements. I understood its scope and magic, thus the prerequisite for me to immerse into the Bereishit as such was fulfilled.
There are two ways to deal with Bereishit for an artist: either to reflect on the text directly, as one feels and imagines things, or to get into the studies of this most commented in history, the first parsha (chapter) of the Torah, before processing it into one’s own creations and visualization.
The tricky thing with the second option is that there are many extraordinary commentaries of the Torah in general, and of the Bereishit in particular. And it is always a subjective, highly individual choice.
In my case, having Rashi’s commentary as an ever-present basic, during a few years I was diligently studying, among the other sources, also Baal Haturim’s classic Torah commentary, Harav Isaac Luriah, Ari’s theory via its great Chaim Vital’s narrative, deep thoughts and unique approach of our great contemporary Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh, and the brilliant organic teaching of incredible Rabbi Yosef Soloveitchik.
Interestingly, not much came out in my project visualizing Bereishit during my studies. It is as if a creative faculty was sort of waiting for the intellectual processing to be done.
When it happened – and to the best of my experience, these things are not controllable or to be programmed, they develop according to their own schedule – the images of my BEREISHIT VISUALIzED series started to appear at a rather vivid pace.
Trying to analyze my subjective visualization of the Creation, I came to the conclusion that as an artist, after all my studies of the Bereishit as a discipline, so to say, I was interested to imagine and to reflect artistically the process of that or another act of the Creation, its inner dynamic. Also, and newly for me, I became very interested in trying to imagine the substances for the phenomena created before the very act of the Creation was carried on.
My images are thus quite subjective, as is the understanding of everyone of us of what was happening during that pivotal Bereishit moment in the history of life on the Earth which has programmed the rest of it, both metaphysically and literally.
As Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5783, approaches, I thought to share some of the artworks from my BEREISHIT VISUALIZED series with my readers, and to wish you all a good, healthy and peaceful New Year 5783 to come.
Inna Rogatchi ©. BEREISHIT VISUALIZED. Selected Works:
Inna Rogatchi (C) 2020-2022 –