Prof. Nurit Govrin *
Jacob Porat - Conversations with Kafka
Nora Galley, Jerusalem, 12 May 2001- 2 June 2001

Jacob Porat's Kafka
The paintings of Jacob Porat converse with Kafka on the backdrop of Kafka's home
city- Prague- in a multi-layer "correspondence". One layer is Porat's paintings. The second
consists of photographed sites in Prague. The third includes drawings made by Kafka, and
the fourth depicts Kafkaesque situations taken from Kafka's works. And the fifth layer is
that of the viewer, who draws near the paintings to look and reveal the worlds hidden inside,
one on top of the other, one coming out of the other. The longer one looks at the paintings,
the more details are discovered and layers excavated, the complexity of the worlds depicted
proliferates and deepens. The viewers bring themselves to the paintings. However, the more
versed they are in Porat's artistic world, the more real their familiarity with Prague, and the
more they feel at home in Kafka's works, the more responsive they become to the paintings.
They can then interpret them by peeling off layer after layer of the open meaning, of a symbol
never fully construed.
Jacob Porat is distinguished by his search for different, various forms of expression.
The exhibitions he has held throughout the years expose the constant and changing elements
of his works in all possible aspects: techniques, compositions, and themes. Although evident
in his work, his literary education does not make his paintings an illustration of literary writings.
Rather, it serves as the driving force of the painting, an enabler of deeper expression and intricacy
of the visual statement. Porat's paintings have a life of their own, and these lives have been an
integral part of his works since he has begun painting to date. His works in general,
and "Conversations with Kafka" in particular, strike a correct balance between the "painting instinct",
which is based on intuition and talent and the intellect that is aware of itself and of the literary
interpretation of themes.
Porat's continuous pursuit is associated with his unsteady, difficult and diverse childhood, his search
for Jewish and Israeli identity, his assimilation of past events and family history, as well as of Israeli
present and society and his place in them. His standing within several artistic branches- painting, literature, music,