‘Hanan Harchol: Jewish Food for Thought’ opening program Oct. 3 at HUC-JIR museum

Multi-media visual artist Hanan Harchol mines personal family dynamics to illuminate the relevance of Jewish wisdom in contemporary life.

Conversations between the artist and his parents, depicted in animated videos and powerful, expressionist drawings, animated stills, and tapestries, offer unexpected perspectives on the themes of Envy, Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Love and Fear, Humility, and Faith. Humorous and initially touching family interactions gradually reveal a deeper study of the human condition.

The starkly drawn images, limited in physical action and set in an unchanging, compressed background setting, reflect the artist’s influence by the early 20th-century German expressionist masters who eschewed naturalism to convey a deeper articulation of emotional and psychological experience. Distraction is banished by the deliberate absence of color and extraneous detail, focusing the viewer’s attention on the verbal exchanges. Harchol’s choice of the animation medium, as in the work of William Kentridge, provides a riveting, experiential integration of subject, style, and format that conveysthe artist’s ultimate message.

Harchol places Judaism at the center of his art, not by illustrating ancient biblical and Talmudic stories, but by finding Jewish teachings in ancient texts that he then applies to everyday life. Harchol is at pains to make the conversations non-judgmental. These animations exert an ecumenical outreach and are intellectually and spiritually available to all.

Harchol’s works offer a uniquely accessible yet rich exploration of centuries of Jewish wisdom, which can be put to practical use and universally appreciated. Hanan Harchol seeks to help repair the world by sharing insights that can enhance the fulfillment and meaning of our own lives.

Opening Program: October 3, 6:15 pm

RSVP and Photo ID required: hucjirmuseum@huc.edu; 212-824-2298

World premiere of two new animated videos by Hanan Harchol – “Humility” and “Faith”
Panel discussion: Artist Hanan Harchol, Art Historian Matthew Baigell, Jewish Law Scholar Maoz Kahana, Psychologist Tali Kahana, moderated by Rabbi Leon Morris

Jewish Food For Thought: The Animated Series was created with generous funding by The Covenant Foundation, with fiscal sponsorship by The Foundation for Jewish Culture.

This exhibition and catalogue/study accompaniment were produced with the generous support of The Covenant Foundation.

This exhibition is presented by the Irma L. and Abram S. Croll Center for Jewish Learning and Culture, with the support of George, z’l, and Mildred Weissman.

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