Homage to Leonard Cohen, International Project, from 2019 onward
Fingerprints is special international project in memory of Leonard Cohen. Michael Rogatchi participates in this project together with his wife Inna Rogatchi who is the author of the project and its curator.
Michael’s participation in the project is creating special art works dedicated to Leonard Cohen, as a part of forthcoming commemorating international exhibition.
For Michael Rogatchi, the project commemorating Leonard Cohen is personal endeavour. Inna and Michael knew Leonard well, and maintained contact with him for years. Leonard did like and supported Michael’s art very much and his attention, understanding and friendship were fundamentally important for the artist.
One of Michael’s works, Zion Waltz, belonged to Leonard Cohen, and now is with Leonard’s family.
During the years, Michael has created several artistic homages to the person whom he loved dearly, and whom he calls ‘the real Cohen’. For this project, the artist creates some new works in commemoration of unique man, Leonard Cohen.
The project that combines efforts of many people and several institutions from different countries, includes exhibition, film, lectures and special events in several countries.
Soul Talk is the project that combines art and spirituality in its frame. Michael Rogatchi works on this project together with his wife Inna Rogatchi. The artistic couple is examining via creating their each own original images, different pattern of Jewish heritage.
Within the frame of Soul Talk project, while Inna Rogatchi’s artwork concentrate on Jewish thought and mind, Michael Rogatchi focused on artistic examination of Jewish soul and heart. Combined, the both directions of artistic efforts created a comprehensive picture of spirituality and its perception by people.
Also combined in the project are both traditional and modern approach and perspectives, creating the expanded view and vitality of tradition.
Michael’s works in this project are continuation of his previous Jewish Melody and Daily Miracles series on artistic interpretation of Jewish heritage.
Soul Talk project includes curated exhibitions, publications, lectures, special events, Artist Talks, Q&A.
Art, Memory and Humanity. Returning the Forgotten Artist, 2019. Outreach to Humanity series of projects
Ecole the Vitebsk and Its Ongoing Echo can be called the second Act of the previous Michael Rogatchi and The Rogatchi Foundation projects on Art as an Act of Memory. It has to do with support of the special research on the forgotten artists from the Ecole de Paris, many if not most of them murdered or perished in Holocaust, and developing Michael’s own concept and research on the subject.
The project was conducted initially at the International School of the Holocaust Studies at the University of Haifa ( 2017-2018), and then continued as independent research supported by the family of very significant collector Dr Oscar Ghetz, namely his son, prof. Claude Getz from New York ( Columbia University, 2018). Dr Oscar Ghetz saved tens if not hundreds of unique art works by perished artists thus preventing them from total oblivion.
Unfortunately, not very much had been done with that incredible material until recent years when the interest towards the murdered artists from the Ecole de Paris was rekindled. That re-born interest provided an opportunity to do something real in the matter of return a very good forgotten artist to the wide public, and also to remain widely on the rest of the exceptionally talented and utterly mistreated artists from Ecole de Paris, the cause which is close to Michael’s heart.
Within the framework of The Rogatchi Foundation Art, Memory and Humanism , the one of its Outreach to Humanity projects, Michael has addressed the project and contributed to that in multiplies ways: he did coin the name Ecole de Vitebsk ( instead of Ecole de Paris which was used with a derogatory meaning towards the artists from the group in 1930s and 1940s in France) making the connection of the artists from the famous group to the place of their origin, Vitebsk is the city in Belorussia where Marc Chagall was born and which he always kept in his heart. Michael also created a special image, Ecole de Vitebsk, as the symbol for the group, with their romantic love for Paris and France and the stimulus for their incredible creativity, and with their inner belonging to the world of shtetls in Eastern and Central Europe, at the same time. The symbolic image has later become the theme for The Rogatchi Foundation special Art Award for the conductors of the project for returning the forgotten artists back to life.
Michael also has made a special research as an art historian on the theme which he presented as Ecole de Vitebsk and its Ongong Echo paper at the Art and Humanism international symposium at the Tel-Aviv University in summer 2019. In this paper, Michael was examining the sources of the inspiration and creativity for Marc Chagall and some other ket artists from Ecole de Paris from the angle of their never interrupted inner connection with the world of their origin, Jewish shtetls of Eastern and Central Europe, and culture they were brought in and which they opted to preserve as their grateful memory, their connection with their families which had been interrupted and severed in reality, and the tissue of their inner world which was the source of their art works many years and decades after they have left their shtetls.
In his paper, Michael also analysed how the devotion and belonging to their people among the great artists from the Ecole de Paris did effect many artists in following generations, himself including. He did demonstrate it in a comparative study of the works by the artists from the Ecole de Vitebsk and the artists who were and are working in the similar style until today.
The purpose of this ongoing project is to tell about interest inner details of life and creative process of the big masters, and also to ensure the humanistic side of their heritage for the wide public.
The project includes publications, lectures, Q&A, Artist’ Talks, panels, and other possible forms.
Artistic & Intellectual Interpretation of the Old Testament, from 2017 onward
BEAUTY IN THE TORAH ( C), (R) is a ongoing project of collaboration between Michael Rogatchi and his wife Inna in their join artistic and intellectual interpretation of the Torah ( the Old Testament). According to the curators and consultants of the project, it is the very first time when such concept is applied to the elaborative intellectual study with following artistic exploration and interpretation.
Artistic couple of Inna and Michael Rogatchi has started to work on this big project in 2017.The project includes methodic detailed research of the Torah, and creating artistic interpretation of the most important book and moral code in history.
The project includes meticulous scientific analyses of the text of the Torah and creation of numerous illustrations by both Inna and Michael Rogatchi to all five books of the Torah made from that point of this new and innovative concept. The special university course The Beauty in the Torah (C), (R), is based on this research and wealth of original art material.
It also include special publications, exhibitions, lectures, Artists’sTalks, panels, master-classes and art documentary.
Artistic Visual Interpretation of Traditions of Classical Music, from 2015 onward
Michael Rogatchi plays on several musical instruments, including piano, accordion, guitar and the others. He grew up in strong and deep tradition of classical music which was very important for his family. He believes that music is a primary mean of the human expression when it comes to emotions, reflections, and feelings. Thus the cosmos created by music, classical music in particular, is the formatting environment for a human being.
Music is vital for Michael for his artistic work, as well. He always listens to music when working on his art pieces. Michael loves many kinds of music, with classical music having a very special place in his world, not only due to the way he was brought up, but also because he is deeply interested and knows well history, and he believes in strength and vitality of best traditions of humanitarian heritage, in which music, and classical music is the one of essential bricks of the foundation of civilisation and civility.
Michael favourite composer is Mozart, and he has created an unique image of his Amadeus which has become the topic of many of his works, both in oil and drawings which assembled into the rare Mozartiana collections of works – please consult Mozartiana Collection page on this site.
His other favourite composers are Vivaldi, the composers of Italian Baroque, Chopin and many others. With his deep and wide knowledge of music and perceiving music as essential environment for a human being, Michael has decided to create a special series of works examining the traditions of classical music and devoted entirely to it. As far as we and our partnering curators are aware, there is no other series like that exist in contemporary figurative art.
With creating Divertimento series and other related art works with original imagenary dedicated to classical music, Michael Rogatchi also embarked on a special cultural educational project examining his artistic interpretation of the traditions of classical music and discussing it with his viewers.
The project includes special publications, exhibitions, discussions, special art events combining exhibitions and lectures, Artist’s Talk and Questions and Answers, and panels with participation of great musicians and writers.
Divertimento project also has become a part of the Leonardo Forum activities that conducts various nternational panels and cultural events on symbiosis of arts, culture, science and medicine.
Divertimento project that has started in 2015 have had its various stages organised in many countries, including Finland, Italy, Lithuania, Israel, the UK. It continues to be developed and applied at various cultural forums in many countries.
Outreach to Humanity Series of Projects, from 2013 onward
In 2013, Michael Rogatchi was invited to take a part in the IV World Litvak Congress that took a place in Vilnius, Lithuania. He was the only artist whose personal exhibition was the part of the official program of that important event.
Although the Congress did commemorate the 70th anniversary of the destruction of the Vilna ghetto and its Jewry, Michael whose grandmother was Sofia Litowska , and who family have had its tragic toll of Holocaust, decided to commemorate their memory in the way of gentleness and beauty, the way of creating the atmosphere where their smiles were as if present.
That’s how the artist’s famous Jewish Melody series was born, and that what was its main purpose for the artist – to create the images which would bring enlightened memories about the people and way of life that has been annihilated brutally and without any reason at all.
Many of the images from Jewish Melody series has become a modern classic by now. The series has been widely exhibited and reproduced. Many exhibition, lectures, interviews, panels were conducted based on this series in the project on Art as an Act of Memory, in many countries: Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, the UK, the USA, and the others.
The point and subject of this project, the one of the Outreach to Humanity series of projects, is to evaluate the art not just as a tool, but as as an act of memory, in all its rich diversity and wide possibilities. It is not only educates much better and deeper, on a level of compassion and with emotional engagement of the viewers, but it also communicates humanity directly which is a special mission of the real, soulful art.
From GULAG to Laogai: Art & History project, 2013. Outreach to Humanity Series of Projects.
From GULAG to Laogai was a very special project of Michael Rogatchi, and a strong contribution into The Rogatchi Foundation Outreach to Humanity series of international cultural educational projects.
As previously – and continuously – regarding his artistic reflections and re-addressing Holocaust, Michael has his artistic word to say also about another terrible crimes against humanity, the Gulag which Michael and his family happened to know first-hand.
It was so terrible reality that although Michael did a few works about it, reflecting on it, showing its mercilessness and rare in life but very truthful black & white reality, the artist does not show them, nor he is dwelling on these works in any way. At the same time, Michael believes that these works should serve as the testimony of the formatting , unprecedented violence against humanity what communism and its cruel system is about.
The history of one particular painting from the works dedicated to Michael Rogatchi’s reflections on his first-hand experience of Gulag is truly unique and reverberating. The work’s title is Year 1953 which is the year of the artist’s birth which happened to be in the Gulag, in the Soviet Far East, in the terrible place known as Valley of Death, after famous writer Varlam Shalamov who had spent 17 years in the Gulag himself. 1953 is also the year of the death of Stalin, the event which was paramount for millions of people.
Michael created that work as chilling memories of the endless columns of the prisoners of Gulag, the columns of the people reduced to nothingness by oppression, violence, humiliation, cold, hunger and forced labour. These columns small Michael was witnessing himself on the streets of the place in Kazakhstan where his family had been exiled after the Stalin’s death, as millions of other Gulag’s prisoners. The artist remembers how he saw those columns of horror even when he was a small boy, on his way to a kindergarten. He remembers as he asked his Mom who was the wife of the Gulag’s prisoner, “Who are those people, Mom?” and heard from his mother: “These people are very misfortunate people, my son. Very, very misfortunate ones”, and his Mom sighed deeply.
Michael created this painting in 1993, as a reminder on his 40th birthday, on those people. Endless columns of them, millions, tens, perhaps hundred million human beings, all of them destroyed psychologically, and many annihilated physically by the Soviet regime in Gulag.
Alexander Solzenitsyn who did return to Russia after many years of his and his family exile, was enthusiastic about that special art work. He wanted very much to have it. Michael understood the desire of famous writer, the author of Gulag Archipelago. He did a special copy of the painting ( as he was not ready to give that very work away), and sent to Solzhenitsyn in Moscow safely, on which Michael was cordially thanked by the writer.
The painting have had a very special place in the artist’s studio ever since. It hanged in the place where Michael’s eyes always were on it while he was working in his studio. It was a very meaningful work for him.
Almost twenty years after the creation of Year 1953, Michael’s wife Inna happened to be in Washington DC, at the famous and unique Laogai Museum, the only museum in the world that tells a horrible story on Laogai, the Chinese Gulag which still be functioning today. Laogai Museum was founded by famous Chinese dissident, Nobel prize nominee, writer and freedom fighter Harry Wu, a good friend of Inna and Michael Rogatchi. Laogai Museum used to have two important sections which were vital for explaining to the visitors the origins of Chinese Gulag, the sections on Holocaust and on Stalinist Gulag.
During her first visit to Laogai Museum, Inna was stunned by seeing a real life photograph from the Chinese Gulag taken in 1970s which was literally the same that Michael’s painting Year 1953. After consultations with Harry Wu , the Laogai Museum and Foundation, and The Rogatchi Foundation, Michael Rogatchi had decided to run this special project on history education by the means of art, together wth Harry Wu and The Laogai Museum and Foundation.
He also decided to donate that essentially important painting for him to Laogai Museum.
Special events and lectured had been set and organised in Washington DC in 2013 as this project was implement, with participation of many leading American public figures and the senior representatives of The Rogatchi Foundation Internationally Advisory Board, including the Members of the European Parliament, and leading politicians. These lectures on humanity as the main tool of surviving in the inhuman conditions of both Gulag and Laogai, conducted by Michael Rogatchi, Harry Wu and many of our colleagues, has become a memorable and very important project on human rights.
In more detail, on this particular project built around Michael Rogatchi’s special art work, it can be read here.
It was a special project for the artist who together with his wife did know famous Nazi-hunter well and was friendly with Wiesenthal for many years. After Wiesenthal’s death in 2005, Michael and Inna Rogatchi are still in friendly relationships with his daughter Paulinka , her husband Gerard and their big family.
Among the art works that become the central art element in the film, there was Michael’s well-known The Way painting which belonged to Simon Wiesenthal and his wife Cyla for many years. After his death, the work is with The Wiesenthal Centre in Lon-Angeles, the USA.
Due to its theme, the work on selecting and placing Michael’s art works as central element of his wife’s film on Simon Wiesenthal has become the one of the Rogatchi couple and their Foundation Outreach to Humanity project.
The project was special and demanding in many senses: it was personal and with wide public reverberation at the same time; it is not easy to create art on such horror as Holocaust; the art needed to be balanced against documentary factological material, it all should be meaningful, delicate, laconic and tasteful. And importantly, serious art adds another dimension to a genre of a documentary film.
The project was very interesting and rewarding, the film is internationally acclaimed and shown world-wide, and many people and art critics has perceived it as ‘art film’ – which was not a purpose in the beginning of its creation, but as it evolves, Michael Rogatchi’s art has set the film’s tone and its atmosphere in a very special way, the way which only deep, qualified and humanistic art can do. Michael’s art works has added a very important dimension of reflections to the documentary’s narrative of the film, thus prolonged and deepened its effect on the viewers.
The new release of The Lessons of Survival is planned for 2022, alongside with Inna Rogatchi’s new book on her and her husband Michael’s friendship, meetings and conversations with Simon Wiesenthal.
Project in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Yad Vashem. Outreach to Humanity project series.
Throughout year 2013, the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of the establishing of Yad Vashem, the world pioneering and leading institution on the Holocaust remembrance. Michael Rogatchi together with his wife Inna Rogatchi and their The Rogatchi Foundation has created and run special art, educational and commemorative project called For the Name and The Place, the phrase from prophet Isaiah which is sculptured in the very high arch, the entrance into the Yad Vashem. The project is the part of The Rogatchi Foundation Outreach to Humanity series of special cultural international projects.
The project included special art film For the Name and the Place containing Michael and Inna Rogatchis’ artworks reflecting Holocaust, lectures and public addresses, series of articles and public events. Please consult Video Presentations page on this site to watch the film.
The art film has been shown widely internationally, and it has been acquired by Yad Vashem for their Film Library and Collection. Since 2013, many international commemorative events on Holocaust had included this film into tehir official programs. The film has been shown also at the Finnish Parliament in 2017.
The commemorative project on this film and related to it presentations continues in many countries.
Rogatchi’s Blues Project: Reflections on Italy, from 2010 onward
ROGATCHI’s BLUES Project was conceived in 2010, upon the invitation by the Italian initial hosts and organisers from Milan and Florence. Michael was invited to create and to show in the several Italian cities his personal artistic reflections on Italy which the artist loves and knows well, and where he lives and works often and regularly, for a part of a year.
The idea for the initial stage of the project in Florence was also to challenge artistically recently restored premises of Cioffi-Jacometti Palazzo which is very well-known historical building initially being a residence for the Pope’s treasurer in the XVIII century. The idea to challenge artistically historical premises designed in late Baroque, Rococo style with contemporary figurative art collection was fresh, interesting, and demanding. Inna Rogatchi curated that special exhibition and the project around it.
The title of the project, Rogatchi’s Blues is a play of words, reflecting on the musical theme of many artworks created by Michael Rogatchi for this project, and also reflecting on the fact that all these works were created in shades of ultra-marine colours.
Michael Rogatchi’s reflections on Italy created for this quite special series are different in character from the conventional reactions of many artists to that unparalleled country known as a source of beauty. Michael does not create another landscape however beautiful it might be, not thinking in a category of ‘ tourist postcards’, not copying one of another Italian famous place or image. What he does in the matter of artistic reflections to the country which is highly important for him it is to process its culture, literature, music, its nature and its people in his inner world, and creates the works which his Italy has fed the artist with. They might be on totally independent themes, some of them does bear references to Italy in various way, and all of them are intensely lyrical. There is no surprise that the Rogatchi Blues are covering three major themes: love, music, and Italy’s presence.
The project which has become extremely successful included the core exhibition, Artist’s Lecture, Q & A, Artist’s Talk.The exhibition had been so successful and has caused such huge interest that it has been prolonged by the Italian organisers from initial five months to ten months, unprecedented move for Italy full of art programs and events. The project did run in Florence from May 2011 until April 2012. The Culture Committee of the City Administration of Florence has been happily advertising the exhibition, on their own, alongside with the retrospective of Botticelli. The exhibition and the whole project were highly praised not only in Italy, but also in Germany and Switzerland.
The project also did bear important charitable cause, with conducting a special charitable auction in support of victims Fukusima nuclear plant disaster in Japan, especially children and their families. Michael Rogatchi in typical for him way did donate the whole sum of successful charitable auction sales to the special fund for the purpose in Japan.
There are plans in progress of continuing that interesting and worthy project in other places of Italy, starting from Rome, after 2021.