Jack Jano – Frische Mische

Past Exhibition

04.09.2011 - 11.11.2011

The meaning of the Hebrew-German slang frische mische is fresh mix, cards shuffling, or re-distribution of roles. And indeed, Jack Jano’s work is an act of frische mische between ideas, images, and various media. Jano has never rested on his laurels and for over three decades he keeps searching, renewing, stirring, and mixing between different media, not a trivial thing when it comes to an established artist who has reached his artistic maturity.

Jano has become identified with his apparently sloppy-looking iron sculpture, its raw material being collected by him in fields and waste sites in the Galilee, his natural environment. This act of recycling and revival is re-shuffling the cards, when in fact he creates a sacred piece of art from things that allegedly came to an end. Jano’s readymade sculptures are also a frische mische mixture – he welds them by fire, adding different genizah materials (prayer shawls, tefillin straps, and disintegrating vellum), and sometimes even general Hebrew literature and cut encyclopedias.

Jano as a painter – a medium in which he is less known – focuses mainly on self-portraits which he paints on canvases or papers of art and fashion magazines. Before the paint dries, he flips the canvas or paper and lets the paint drip freely, even at the cost of erasing the painting. And so the mocking and ridiculing nature of Jano is revealed. It seems as if he is not afraid of a smile and laughter, as well as of unfathomable seriousness, which for him, are the same.

In the past two years Jano has improved his self portraits and turned to a new medium. He started to photograph himself in various costumes and the final products are bound and glued to cart parts, cut books and – most often – to steel cubes serving as charity boxes and seem as rusted icons of Tzadikim – saintly Jewish people. And as usual, Jano presents an artwork with a wink, in part serious and protesting, in part ironic and mocking – everybody knows the Yeshivas’ and private fund raiser, schnorer (“sponging off”), who glues a picture of a Tzadik to persuade the donor to shell out his money. Jano’s charity boxes are welded on all their sides and actually will never be open.

The current exhibition presents a wide range of Jano’s media – sculpture, painting, photography, video, and installation. The exhibition is neither a retrospective nor presenting a single specific aspect of his work, but a frische mische of media and influences – from his self- portraits on canvas and metal, through iron sculptures, welded Hebrew letters, and manipulated photographs from his studio.