Jack Jano – Beside the Witness Stand

Past Exhibition

22.10.2015 - 27.11.2015

Records from inside the District Court, 19/12/1995-26/3/1996
20th Anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s Assassination

The trial of assassin Yigal Amir was held in the Tel Aviv district courtroom, on 19 December 1995. Being shocking by nature, the trial stirred ample international interest and as news teams, reporters and photographers were forbidden from entering the courtroom, networks and news agencies turned to young artist Jack Jano, then a set decorator with the Israeli Television, and sent him to work: he was to record proceedings in court, which they were in turn to broadcast on their news editions.

Jano sat in the courtroom and took hundreds of sketches, using different technics. These were featured in news editions around the world and as the trial concluded, Jano had them bundled up and stashed in his mountain-top studio, among the hundreds of other sketches scattered there.

“Within the endeavour of art, Jano seems like a stepson of sorts, unbound by the social move expected from an artist, but in fact he is perhaps one of the few who are committed to a full socio-political move. Jano makes his works from materials others have chosen to put out of sight.” Meir Aharonson, winter 2015, from the catalogue of Bound to Place, The Museum of Israeli Art, Ramat Gan, 2015.

Jano, an artist of matter and language, the man who resides up a mountain top in the home that he and wife Suzanne built with their own bare hands for themselves and their eight children and grandchildren; a home which is like a human beehive of culture and manual labour, an Abraham tent in the full sense of the word. Alongside the house, the studio forever stands there, ever under an agenda-driven construction, like an amoeba of Hebrew art, with hundreds of words cut by fire and complex sentences, such as And thou shalt love, alongside dozens of rusty iron homes laced with light blue, built like a mountain; Stars of David are scattered around the place and a Lion of Judah rears its head from the letters. And in one of the Jano labyrinth chambers, iron cabinets stand with dozens of oil paintings on their shelves, comprising landscapes, domed Tzadik tombs on colourful papers, but mostly self-portraits: Jano dressed as Maimonides, donning a hat in flames; Jano with or without glasses. Not a single portrait can be found that features a figure outside the Janosphere.

Then, out of the blue, a green portfolio is drawn from one of the high shelves, containing a treasure trove.

Of the hundreds of sketches, 22 of different techniques survived, depicting the judges and lawyers, court clerks, guards and portraits of assassin Yigal Amir, laughing.

Within the Janosphere, the court sketches constitute a startling surprise. Jano viewed sketching as “work”. Startling though it may be, it is the thing that would put food on the table, yet in this occasion, Jano opened up to a new colour plate, a statement stemming from attention to details, to moods and sweat, to the insult and pain attending the act of sitting within an arm’s reach from the base assassin, producing a record – sketches of a national tragedy.

This exhibition is dedicated to national recollection and the memory of late Yitzhak Rabin.