Rina Ginossar: An Old Sight Too Has a Moment of
(J. Porat's Works in Oil and Mixed Media on Paper and Cardboard, 2000-2005)
"An old sight too has a moment of birth", the opening line of Alterman's poem "Moon", appears in
one of J. Porat's works from 2003, written in his own hand as one of the elements of the painting, similar to other texts
which Porat has embedded in much of his work since the year 2000. Apparently during these years Porat has been engaging
in dialogues, on the one hand with culture heroes and artists (especially writers and poets such as Alterman, Yehuda Amichai,
Franz Kafka and Fernando Pessoa), while on the other hand, perhaps most importantly, with paintings of his own from earlier
The written word, given due respect, is placed in an exciting concert of shapes and color. This
combination and communication of color, drawing and the written word comprise an integration worthy of attention. It is a
concert in which color seems to be frame and background but is truly the soloist that focuses the eye of the viewer. J. Porat
is a poet of color.
His own works with which Porat engages in dialogue in some of his paintings, are mostly miniature
"sights" created many years earlier (in the 1980's), were never exhibited, and here they have a new "birth", thereby realizing
Alterman's words quoted above, that "an old sight too has a moment of birth".
The structure of most of the works is one of windows, a single window or many windows, playing in
beautiful yellow and other tones, while in and between them appears a carnival of figures in color and drawing (sometimes
precisely figurative on the border of the realistic and sometimes barely hinted at). Some of the figures are realistic
while others are totally phantasmal: people, animals, fauns, monsters, devils, birds, masks and other magical creatures.
Here and there among them is a dominant figure which attracts full attention, such as the face of a young woman, black-haired
and bare-breasted, or the head of a faun.
The "windows" fulfill the function of organizing, connecting, confronting and unifying at one and
the same time. They offer the viewer a frame which permits focusing on the entirety and the ephemeral "Kafkaesque" which
arouses wonder, stimulation and curiosity. They are Lego bricks which constantly build new castles.
All these, as well as the contents of the texts and their contexts, create effects of nonsense, humor
and wit, which lead to a productive confrontation with the titles of some of the works, such as "The Human Condition 2003".
The works in general have the quality of spirals: on the face of it, a style which repeats itself, but in practice, at familiar
crossroads, it rises to a higher level. And then again there is a new variation, surprising and "tongue-in-cheek", according
to a familiar dictionary to which new building blocks and combinations are constantly added, a new window opens, a different
and new solution appears.
With the help of these basic steps the rhythm constantly changes: runs, walks, skips, and creates
a wonderful dialogue, leaving the viewer eager for more.
Translated from the Hebrew by Margie Ben-Shmuel