Jack Jano- SoferStam (10/09/2009 - 12/11/2009)
..."In his works, Jano creates models of tombs and synagogues made of rusty and disintegrating iron, worn-out books, melted wax, yahrzeit candles , and other materials. All these are fused into a sculptural design that revives the various elements and gives them both a religious and artistic validity. The pictures of the righteous persons and the portraits made by Jano are a kind of an experiment in practical magic, while raising questions regarding identity and connection with popular ritual tradition. In the works inspired by a trip to Morocco, the artist's land of birth, popular folklore is reflected, too, through a post-orientalistic view, free of any exotics. His 'journey' works – wheelbarrows in which books or ritual articles are stacked, as well as his works based oh wheelchairs – do not express a journey derived from a deep nostalgia towards the Diasporaand in the footsteps of the 'generation of the wilderness', but rather an internal journey of self-exploration. The arched structures created by Jano, a combination of models of tombs of righteous Jewish persons and of Arab sheikhs, undermine the dichotomy between 'Arab' and 'Jewish' in order to make the relationship between them visible, a relationship that the Israeli society t keeps strictly oppressed and excluded.
Thus, Jano's deployment of artifacts from the religious world is not an act of defamiliarization but an act of hybridization, pointing to the difficulty of placing traditionalism within a definite sociological framework. This difficulty emerges from the refusal of Jews from Arab countries to be classified by the European categories of 'religious' and 'secular'. Against this background, Jano's work succeeds in capturing complex hybridization between religion and secularity, and not just replacing one of them with the other. In this, actually, lies its true power".
..."Jack Jano generates in his present exhibition a kind of refinement and summary of all the ideas and sayings that he has expressed in recent years. His artistic means of expression are reduced here to a fundamental and concentrated engagement with Hebrew letters, being interested in them both as forming visual shapes, and as having an ideational and emotional significance.
Hundreds of iron letters, in different sizes are spread like a carpet on the gallery floor. Some of them create phrases, and among them stand statuettes, that are also made up of letters.
Jano's work reflects a permanent and dynamic pursuit of the mythic essence of the language-building letters. In the inner room of the gallery, he exhibits several video films, screened simultaneously, in which the artist is depicted changing identities, outfits, and names, with humoristic theatricality, while lecturing in Hebrew, Moroccan, Gibberish, etc. This encounter between the letters, words, sentences, and texts generates in the viewer a sense of confusion, and turns him too, into someone who 'is looking for a unique essence', due to the linguistic abundance, reminiscent of the Tower of Babylon".
review on the exhibition in Ma'arav by David Sperber
review on the exhibition in Globes, 22.9.2009
review on the exhibition in Atmosphrea, September 2009