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Fine Arts: Creations Episodes In Pictures With Highlights

Inna Rogatchi (C). In the Beginning. Creation Stories. Bereishit Illustrated series. Watercolour, wax pastel, oil pastel, Neopastel, perle de jaune, pigment of gold on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on the board. 100 x 120 cm. 2022.
Inna Rogatchi (C). In the Beginning. 2022.

BEREISHIT  ILLUSTRATED

Part I of II with Highlights

Part II of the Introduction to the Bereishit Illustrated project can be read here.

Inna Rogatchi (C). In the Beginning. Creation Stories. Bereishit Illustrated series. Watercolour, wax pastel, oil pastel, Neopastel, perle de jaune, pigment of gold on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on the board. 100 x 120 cm. 2022.

Inna Rogatchi © Light Solo. Watercolor, wax pastel, oil pastel, encre l’alcool, Luminance Caran d’Ache, pigment of bronze, pigment of pale gold on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 60 x 80 cm. 2022. 

What to imagine while visualizing 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 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 creations. 

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 Rashis commentary as an ever-present basic, I was diligently studying, among the other sources,  also Baal Haturims classic Torah commentary, Harav Isaac Luriah, Aris, theory in  the great Chaim Vital narrative, deep thoughts and unique approach of our great contemporary Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh, and the brilliant teaching of incredible Rabbi Yoseph 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 these pictures 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 on the process of that or another act of the Creation, its inner dynamic. And also, I became very interested in trying to imagine about 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 Bereishit moment in the history of life on the Earth. 

As Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year 5783, approaches, I thought to share some of the artworks from my BEREISHIT VISUALIZED series. 

Inna Rogatchi ©. BEREISHIT VISUALIZED. Selected Works:

In the Bereishit/Creation narrative, the Day Two is marked with the appearance of phenomena of eternal vitality, with water being one of them. We learn that water appeared being created ‘above the firmament’. While working on my version of visualizing that key-phenomenon, I was thinking, trying to imagine: how did it happen? How could this overwhelming process be visualized? My outcome, in the Creation of Water I work, came in a moving wave of a mass of water above the firmament. By this wave, I wanted to show the process in making, the very moment of the creation of such a vital life element. And I tend to think that the surrounding at the moment of creation of water on our planet was serene, gentle, and accommodating. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Water I. Water Above the Firmament. Day II of the Creation. Watercolour, wax pastel, oil pastel, Neopastel, Luminance Caran d’Ache on authored original pigment print on cotton mounted on board. 70 x 90 cm. 2022. Smaller original prototype: Private collection, Austria.

The Day Two of Creation witnessed the appearance of very conditions of life as we know it. With regard to the Heavens, I was interested to understand, to the degree possible, and to imagine also the pre-condition for formation of such a fundamental part of our existence. My work Creation of Heavens: Pre-Condition portrays my thoughts. The title of this work also contains such line as ‘Substance of Heavens”.  I was thinking of presenting the image of pre-heavens, so to say, which would contain many different conditions of the Heavens as we know it, at the moment of its pre-Creation. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Heavens: Pre-Condition. Substance of Heavens. Day II of the Creation. Watercolour, wax pastel, oil pastel, Neopastel, Luminance Caran ‘Ache, encre d’alcool, perle de blanc on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 80 x 100 cm. 2022.

While portraying the Heavens created, as it is done in my Creation of Heavens I work, I was referring to the process in making, when the Heavens in all its splendor and assurance, were processed into being by the Highest Power. Here, as it almost every work in that series, I wanted to explore artistically the thesis of inner dynamics of the process of Creation at every stage of it, as was one of my key starting points while working on this series. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Heaven II. Day II of the Creation. Watercolour, oil pastel, wax pastel, Luminance Caran d’Ache, encre l’alcool, perle de blanc on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 70 x 90 cm. 2022

According to the Torah, the Day II of the Creation was concluded with a principal outcome, the separation between Firmament and Heavens. This was a pivotal moment of the first appearance of a fundamental principle in the entire Jewish tradition, the separation. The separation between good and evil, between darkness and light, between mundane and festive – as it all is stated so laconically but so encompassing-like in our beautiful Havdalah prayer at the conclusion of Shabbat before entering the new week. It is a pivotal principle because the ability to recognize good and evil, and light from darkness, and to do it consciously, to comprehend it as a principle of life, not at an ad-hoc level, is the basis of morality. And that’s why Judaism is perceived and is known as the belief of consciousness. My Separation Between Firmament and Heavens work, imagining artistically the first realized separation in the history of the Jewish tradition, is resolved in abstract genre which in my view was quite helpful to present this thought on necessity of separation and clear understanding of qualities of phenomena around us, laconically and clearly. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Separation Between Firmament and Heavens. Day II of the Creation. Watercolour, oil pastel, wax pastel, encre l’alcool, Luminance Caran d’Ache, perle de jaune, perle de bleu on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 70 x 90 cm. 2022.

On the Day Three of the Creation, two fundamental elements came to being, dry land which we know as earth, and seas. According to Talmud and some profound commentators of the Torah, both appearance of dry land and seas resulted from the separation between firmament and heavens occurred on the Day Two of the Creation. 

In my Creation of Dry Land, I tried to imagine that phenomenal moment of appearance of dry land from a whirl of the creation. That moment, actually, predestined human existence in a certain natural condition, it created the land under human feet for eternity. That’s why I opted to visualize this moment in a dramatic fashion. I tend to think that almost anything promising and re-assuring appears in this way, as an outcome of a drama. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Dry Land. Day III of the Creation. Watercolour, oil pastel, wax pastel, Luminance Caran d’Ache, encre l’alcool on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 70 x 90 cm. 2022.

The same Third Day of the Creation brought to existence the dry land antithesis, the seas. Antithesis is the instrument of harmony, and the process of Creation is the best proof of it. The more dynamic in the process of creation I could see and layout in my works, the more it would respond to my limited understanding of that process which we can comprehend only partially. In my work Creation of the Seas, I tried to see the seas and skies about them in a celestial harmony, from various aspects: color-wise, motion-wise, but not substance-wise. The separating line in the work between the seas and skies is here to emphasize that even the harmony of the Highest Order does exist as an achieved balance of antithesis. As it certainly was the case at the time of the Creation. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Seas. Day III of the Creation. Watercolour, oil pastel, wax pastel, Caran d’Ache Luminance, encre l’alcool, perle de blanc on original authored pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 70 x 90 cm. 2022.

In an interesting paradox, the more obvious possible image of a given object might be, the more difficult it is for an artist to create something non-trivial portraying the object in question. Such is the case with picturing plants, especially working on the theme of their creation. In my work Creation of Plants I, I opted for two main elements of expression: color and movement. With the creation of plants, green has entered the world, and then our human world as a symbol of growth, and thus, promise. How did the Creation of Plants happen? What was this mysterious process? – I was asking myself. I think it was something like I imagined in my work about it, an intense, promising, deep and highly potent green whirl. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Plants. Day III of the Creation. Watercolour, wax pastel, oil pastel, Luminance Caran d’Ache, perle de blanc, perle de vert on authored original pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 70 x 90 cm. 2022

The Torah is listing creation of plants with certain detail, adding to the creation of plants also creation of trees, namely, trees with fruit, and creation of herbage. This is different from the mention of creation of seas. In the case of water resources, the Torah does not specify any other form of it apart from the seas, not ocean, not lake, not river. I still am thinking why – if in the description of the next Day of Creation, it does mention gradation of the created plants. In my work Creation of Trees I, I imagined the moment of this wonderful creation of the living objects which bring so much joy to people and are so vital for life as a biological process as such. My trees in the moment of their creation are appearing in that mighty Whirl of the Creator at the time when seas are already existing, being created on the previous Day of the Creation. And the trees’s lushness is emphasized by the light which is always present, as the light is the precondition of life. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Trees. Day III of the Creation. Watercolour, oil pastel, wax pastel, Caran d’Ache Luminance, encre l’alcool, perle de blanc, perle de bleu on original authored pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 80 x 60 cm. 2022. The work’s image is licensed to be used at the art exposition at the forthcoming open-air Memorial the Holocaust Garden of Hope at the Kingswood, Texas, the USA.

Thinking about the Creation of Herbage, I opted for flowering ones. Because objectively varieties of herbage do consist of many of those plants which flower, and subjectively, because I was willing to reflect on the beauty of flowers in my series on the Creation. In my Creation of Herbage I work, I was thinking of portraying a flower as a concept at the moment of its birth, appearance. The joyful moment of promise and expectation of something beautiful and gladdening. Additionally to many vital components of the complicated, multi-staged, multi-purposeful process of the Creation, we should not underestimate the element of gladness which was certainly present there. 

Inna Rogatchi (C). Creation of Herbage. Day III of the Creation. Watercolour, wax pastel, oil pastel , Neopastel, Caran d’Ache Luminance, perle de blanc on original authored pigment print on cotton paper mounted on board. 60 x 80 cm. 2022.

Gladness, promise, beauty, potency, positive energy, hopefulness. These are the elements of the process of the Creation which are the essence of this fundamental beginning of both life on the Earth and also human civilization, to me. And to work on this series, Bereishit/Creation Illustrated, is a very gratifying, exactly for this reason.

Inna Rogatchi ©. 2022 –

About the Author
Inna Rogatchi is internationally acclaimed writer, scholar, artist, art curator and film-maker, the author of widely prized film on Simon Wiesenthal The Lessons of Survival. She is also an expert on public diplomacy and was a long-term international affairs adviser for the Members of the European Parliament. She lectures on the topics of international politics and public diplomacy widely. Her professional trade-mark is inter-weave of history, arts, culture and mentality. She is the author of the concept of the Outreach to Humanity cultural and educational projects conducted internationally by The Rogatchi Foundation of which Inna is the co-founder and President. She is also the author of Culture for Humanity concept of The Rogatchi Foundation global initiative that aims to provide psychological comfort to wide audiences by the means of high-class arts and culture in challenging times. Inna is the wife of the world renowned artist Michael Rogatchi. Her family is related to the famous Rose-Mahler musical dynasty. Together with her husband, Inna is a founding member of Leonardo Knowledge Network, a special cultural body of leading European scientists and artists. Her professional interests are focused on Jewish heritage, arts and culture, history, Holocaust and post-Holocaust. She is running several projects on artistic and intellectual studies on various aspect of the Torah and Jewish spirituality. She is twice laureate of the Italian Il Volo di Pegaso Italian National Art, Literature and Music Award, the Patmos Solidarity Award, and the New York Jewish Children's Museum Award for Outstanding Contribution into the Arts and Culture (together with her husband). Inna Rogatchi was the member of the Board of the Finnish National Holocaust Remembrance Association and is member of the International Advisory Board of The Rumbula Memorial Project ( USA). Her art can be seen at Silver Strings: Inna Rogatchi Art site - www.innarogatchiart.com
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