BY OZ ALMOG
The portrait of Leonard Cohen is one of 350 paintings in the collection "Index Judaeorum" created by the Israeli artist Oz Almog. The exhibition was first shown in Wien, followed by Tel Aviv, Schwäbisch-Hall (Germany), Amsterdam, Zurich, London...
"… In his Chronicle of a Cultural Obsession, he raises the alienating and provocative question about who and what is Jewish, and why it matters.
In this multitude of portraits, Oz Almog presents the broad range that he feels may be described as Jewish. He confronts visitors with the question as to what Anne Frank and Jesus, Bob Dylan and Fred Astaire, Mr. Spock and Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo and Madeleine Albright could possibly have in common. In this exhibition, he shows implicitly that categorizing is pointless. Almog’s challenging work confuses viewers and refutes prejudices that persist in many cases about stereotypical Jewish facial features as well as the idea that Jews are easily recognizable by their appearance.
Oz Almog is an internationally renowned artist, who deals with the most unconventional subjects. He uses his art like a magnifying glass to perform a continuous inspection of Western culture. Although public disclosure of a person’s ethnic or religious background is often frowned upon, the subject interests many people. Jews will also wonder whether a Nobel Prize or Oscar winner might be Jewish. Almog’s cultural obsession reflects upon the visitors: their reactions are therefore every bit as interesting as the portraits themselves…”
© 1999-2003 Oz Almog, Israel
Reprinted here with permission. All rights reserved.
Visit the website of the artist www.ozalmog.com
Photos by Jarkko Arjatsalo, shot at Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam, May 2003