A new experience: Jerushalaim, New York, Venezia
Mr Rocca was invited to live a new experience: exhibiting his original paintings at the Jewish Museum of Venice in a personal exhibition. He deeply studied the Jewish culture and decided to represent is as it is lived in the three cities: Jerushalaim, New York and Venice.
By Mrs Petra Schaefer Andreoli (translated by: Mrs Kate Davies)
Until 28 February 2005 in the heart of the Gheto Novo, the Venice Jewish Museum, in collaboration with Codess Cultura and the Melori & Rosenberg Gallery, will host Luigi Rocca’s solo exhibition “A NEW EXPERIENCE – JERUSHALAIM, NEW YORK, VENEZIA”.
This represents a virtual journey which the artist and creator of Hyperrealist Impressionism has made to investigate and portray the relationship which these cities have with their own Jewish community. To this end, Rocca has chosen to approach the cities gradually, first adopting a kind of bird’s-eye view of them.
Then, having examined the urban structure from afar, he identifies his target and flies closer, unafraid to skim low over it several times before reaching it. Initially then, such targets are places in the city, streets and squares, which seagull Rocca enters and from which he proceeds to pick out objects first and finally human beings, the real protagonists of his paintings.
Like the cities themselves, the views of them are very different from one another. They start with a view of New York where the Empire State Building rises out of the city’s chorusline of skyscrapers and remains a firm, long- standing point of reference. They move on to a view of Jerusalem suspended in a dreamlike dawn of blue-violet light, and finish with the proud and majestic Venice, immortalized in the waters of St. Mark’s Basin and enticing us towards her streets which seem so faraway.
The common thread running through the cycles, particularly those devoted to Jerusalem and New York, is the way the artist approaches the Jewish world; namely the initial aerial view which leads onto to a second work in which Rocca singles out the protagonists. At this stage these protagonists remain anonymous as a result of the blurred strokes used to depict them, despite their clear religious identity established by the unmistakable liturgical vestments. His approach culminates in the depiction of the individual subject, who is clearly-defined and who, despite being portrayed in various different contexts, consistently upholds and professes his faith nonetheless (note, for example, the virtually constant presence of a reading of the sacred text).
The paintings dedicated to the Venetian Ghetto, on the other hand, merit separate analysis. Since these are clearly influenced by the everyday experience of the artist, who lives in the Ghetto, they lead to a considerably different, if not the opposite conclusion.
In these works, when depicting an individual subject, Rocca tends to represent the background of Venetian walls and buildings in minute detail while the human figure (the Rabbi entering the synagogue) is out of focus. This blurred view results from the movement created by this figure’s haste to move out of our field of vision. So, Rocca casts a mere fleeting glance towards the Rabbi as he is fully aware that as he, the artist, observes he can also be seen himself and recognized by the Rabbi. This is exactly what Rocca wants to avoid. He prefers to remain invisible and thus leave us free to enter the Ghetto and follow the trail left by his work, so that we too can better observe the Jewish world from the artist’s hidden vantage point.