Dying of Romanticism

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Read the poem, "Hamsin" (East Wind)

Listen to Chaim Bezalel reading his poem,"Hamsin" (East Wind)."

See the video, "Dying of Romanticism"

"Dying 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.
     Somewhere 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.
     The 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.