Painting Music

A Visit with David Benforado

David Benforado with a nay flute in front of an oil painting

David Benforado playing a nay flute, in the background one of his recent paintings “Brown-Orange,” 150 x 150 cm, oil on linen, 2015/2016; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Leonore Maier

“There is a whole world in five notes, just as there is a world in five colors.” With these words David Benforado, painter and musician, expressed his understanding of art to me. Painting Makams and Between Sound and Silence are, appropriately, the titles of his two series for the art vending machine, both of which have been available for sale this year at the Jewish Museum Berlin (more information about the art vending machine on our website). Music and painting are combined in small-scale oils, studies in color filled with energy and vitality.

Ever since David Benforado has been painting, he has been working with music. His atelier has again and again been the site of sessions with professional musicians, for instance during his time in Budapest with the accordion player David Yengiburgan and here in Berlin with pianist Antonis Anissegos. Seven years ago Benforado began studying the ney, a Middle-Eastern flute, and soon he encountered the world of Turkish makams and modal music from the eastern Mediterranean. This became a source of inspiration for his painting.  continue reading

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Between everyday life in prison and Jewish mediation work

“on.tour” in prison

In the foreground various Jewish objects, in the background inmates sitting in a circle on exhibition cubes

Guides discussing exhibition cubes and hands-on material with inmates; Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Svea Pietschmann

I had hardly returned from the summer holidays this year when I went straight to “jail!” But don’t worry, my criminal record still has zero entries. Rather, my visit to prison occurred in the context of our so-called “Prison Week.” This was where our mobile education initiative, “on.tour – The JMB tours schools,” visited the juvenile detention centers at Plötzensee and Neustrelitz. These two days gave me the opportunity to gain insight into the young prisoners’ everyday lives. The experiences I had there were incredibly interesting and corrected some ideas I had previously had about correctional facilities.

Cold – grey – dreary: when you think of jail, it’s not the most inviting pictures that come to mind. I was all the more astonished then, when I walked into the juvenile detention center at Neustrelitz.  continue reading

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“I don’t laugh about religion. I laugh about human behavior.”

An Interview with Eran Shakine

Today, on 27 October 2016 at 7 pm, our exhibition “A Muslim, a Christian, and a Jew” is opening with Eran Shakine in attendance. In the run-up to the opening, Gregor H. Lersch spoke with the Israeli artist about religion, art, and his sources of inspiration.

Portrait of Eran Shakine

Eran Shakine; photo: Shay Kedem

Gregor H. Lersch: What does “A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew” (MCJ) show?

Eran Shakine: “A Muslim, a Christian and a Jew…” sounds like the beginning of a joke. But that is just to get your attention.

The show is an installation consisting of 40 paintings, drawings, and three metal cut-out sculptures.

The three similar figures, their religious background unidentifiable, create situations by means of a vivid and comical body language. In every drawing they witness and experience major events in history or philosophy, or meet important figures like Moses, Buddha or Nelson Mandela. The three heroes, dressed as 19th century gentlemen, help each other in their journey to find the love of God.

Here, there are no stereotypes, no one is the laughingstock, everyone is the same; we see three human beings who explore life, nature, culture and philosophy, out of shared curiosity, without trying to prove each other wrong.

Why did you start to work on MCJ?  continue reading