Readings, April 2011

Izhar Cohen (www.izharcohen), Off the Page, Linoleum Cutting, 2010

The written and the visual’s mutual necessity, the borderlines and seams that mark the points of separation and connectivity between them, and the areas of contestation, overlap, and mutual amplification they inhabit, form the center of the 20th issue of the E-Journal History & Theory: The Protocols – “Readings”.

Albeit the diversity of texts it includes, the adoption of “reading” as a practice for intellectual contemplation marks and connects the different contributions that compose this issue. This adoption reveals, when compared to with the diverse disciplinary and artistic backgrounds of the different contributors, the significance and immense range of possibilities to which “reading” as a metaphor alludes to.

Achinoam Berger and Aner Preminger discuss two films by François Truffaut – Jules and Jim (c1961) and Two English Girls (1971). Both of these films are screen adaptations of novels, and in both the main characters are artists, this similarity in turn enables Berger and Preminger to discuss the complex intertextual relationship between cinema, literature and the plastic arts. The interplay and tensions between literature and cinema are also discussed, from a different perspective, in Yael Levy’s close reading of the verbal and the visual as these appear in the novel The Hours (c1999) and in its film adaptation (c2002).

The relationships between different mediums is further emphasized in Irit Dagani-Raz discussion of two works by Maya Zak – Facebook’s Sign (pencil on paper) and Mother Economy (video art) – which analyzes these using a logico-semiotic approach that exposes the thematic and formal relations that connect them; and in Bilha Blum’s discussion of Federico Garcia Lorca’s interdisciplinary and multi-medium works, which emphasized the complex narrative elements that appear ‘within’ the visual aspect of his painting, and the visual elements that appear ‘below’ the textual aspect of his plays.
Two articles deal with the encounter between Paul Celan’s Death Fugue (Todesfuge) and the series of paintings Anselm Kiefer dedicated to it. Gal Ventura discusses the way in which Kiefer treats death and grief, and the inseparability of the Jew from the German, with a comparative reading that emphasizes the iconographic and stylistic elements in the different works. This relationship also forms the center in Dror Pimentel philosophical-phenomenological discussion, which sees in it a Judeo-German différence that needs to be interpreted through the metaphoric elemental square of gold, ash, fire and wind.

Yael Darr discusses Nachum Gutman’s work in the weekly newspaper ‘davar leyeladim’, which combines illustration with writing. She indicates Gutman’s place in constructing the weekly’s visual language which mediates ‘the important’ through ‘the beautiful’, by which equality between the text and the reader is created. Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler discusses textual design in E-Journalism and the inter-relationships between commercial advertisements and journalistic pieces.

Closing this issue is Ilana Salama Ortar’s discussion of her two projects ‘Land Without Earth’ and ‘Corporeal Memory’, which combines the two into a single project by tracing the semantics of body, territory and loss that connect them. And two Two virtual exhibitions – I Keren Katz’ unorthodox illustrated comic strips that are based on critical essays and prose, and a fragment of Ofir Feldman’s conceptual art project “WordBank”.