of Romanticism" was
first exhibited at the Jerusalem Theater for the Jerusalem Film
Festival in July, 1996. The inspiration struck one day,
several years earlier, when atmospheric changes, brought on by a
heat wave, caused local television reception to fade out and
programs from a neighboring country were received instead. Chaim
grabbed his camera and started photographing the television
screen, interference and all. This began a process of several
years, at first searching for Arabic movies between stations on
the dial of an old black and white t.v. Later he transferred
these images, often editing them into montages on sheets of rice
paper. Yonnah then painted the black and white images with oil
pastels, sometimes adding gold foil.
in the process, the artists began to understand that the roots of
Romanticism hark back to Arabic culture. Orientalism has been a
hallmark of the Romantic movement. Painters such as Delacroix,
Ingres, and even Matisse, composers such as Rimsky-Korsakov and
Grieg, have all been highly influence by Arabic themes, but it is
not unlikely that even the earlier roots, going all the way back
to the troubadours, were influenced by Arabic love poetry that
Europeans may have encountered during the Crusades.
word "romanticism" has as its root "roman"
which is French for story or novel. Our expectations of love and
romance are highly influenced by books, and more recently movies.
Sometimes it is hard for us even to define what love is, we have
been so brainwashed by Hollywood and other tinsel-towns from
Bollywood to Cairo. Some of the images behind these paintings
were Hollywood's take on the allure of the East. Dorothy Lamour
and Rita Hayworth both make appearances in this series.