Project on Contemporary Spiritual Art & Artistic Interpretation of the Old Testament , from 2010 onward

FOREFATHERS project on contemporary Biblical art and artistic interpretation of the Old Testament was conceived by Michael Rogatchi after he has completed two different series of works featuring central Biblical figures, the collections called The Patriarchs and The Matriarchs.  On The Patriarchs, Michael was working from the late 1990s completing the series by 2004, and on The Matriarchs, the artist worked in the end of 2000s, from 2008 to 2010. 

The Patriarchs & the Matriarchs together has formed a core-exhibition for Forefathers project, with addition of more works elaborating on the theme of the contemporary Biblical art.

Michael Rogatchi delivers paper on his Forefathers project. Museum of the History of Jewish People. Ukraine. 2013. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

The particularity of Forefathers project is based on the fact of its rarity. There are very few contemporary artists working today who are concentrating on the theme, and those who are, are producing rather standard illustrative mass-production images which does not add productively to the modern-time artistic  and inspired and supported by art dialogue on Biblical theme. 

Yet less there is an modern-time’ artistic input into the theological, philosophical and historical education and the other intellectual efforts. 

From these crucial points of view, existence of such project as our ongoing Forefathers is authentically artistic, intellectually charged and originally executed unique material which evokes a lot of interest and brings out special knowledge, as well as stimulates wide interest into the matter of fundamental moral values and rich history of mankind.

The material coming from Forefathers is based on original images created by Michael Rogatchi, most fascinating artist’s stories and narrative explaining the origin of his impressive images in modern Biblical art, as well as Michael’s own research and its outcome in the field of the Biblical history.

Michael Rogatchi signing brochures at the special event presenting his Forefathers projects. Museum of History of Jewish People. Ukraine. 2013. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

The combination of exquisite modern art with deep historical and theological knowledge is not an usual phenomenon among the contemporary artists. This might explain a very high interest towards Forefathers projects in many countries and among versified audiences. 

Combining artistic and educational elements, Forefather collection and project include exhibitions, Artist Talks, special Artist Lectures, several art publications of smaller and bigger brochures and a book, creation and release of special DVD presenting the collection, master-classes, various media-publications. 

These activities were conducted in Jerusalem ( 2014 and 2015), London, the UK ( 2010 and 2016), Turku and Helsinki, Finland ( 2011, 2014 and 2017) , Washington, D.C., New York and Los-Angeles ( 2013), Vilnius, Lithuania ( 2013-2014), Tallinn, Estonia ( 2014), and the other places.

The new exhibitions , lectures, master-classes of Forefathers projects are planned from 2021 onward. 

Forefathers is the core material for the forthcoming art documentary on Michael Rogatchi’s contemporary Biblical art. 

The new art book on Forefathers will be published together with the release of the documentary.


DREAM, MEMORY, LOVE International Tour: 1995-2005

Dream, Memory, Love was a big project of international tour of Michael Rogatchi’s exhibitions. In different countries, exhibitions varied in size and outline around the core exhibition of 40 paintings. Dream, Memory, Love was a retrospective of the artist presenting his works reflecting Holocaust and the works of metaphorical expressionism. In some countries, BOLERO composition was added to that. Dream, Memory, Love tour was curated by Inna Rogatchi.

Michael Rogatchi on his Dream, Memory, Love tour , during the exhibition in Jerusalem. 2004. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

Prior to Dream, Memory, Love tour, Michael Rogatchi was invited and participated in many international exhibitions, both personal and group ones. Especially successful and rewarding were  several his exhibitions in London, UK, n mid-1990s. Many partnering international culture organisations have invited Michael for following exhibition. Artist himself was interested in showing his work in a consistent way and according to elaborated concept, not by the way of spontaneous exhibitions.  Having several standing invitation, Michael wanted to start major international tour representing his works from Krakow, Poland – in homage to memory of his and his wife Inna’s families members, some of them perished in Holocaust.

In the middle of the 1990s, Poland was the right place to come with a major art exhibition part of which was re-addressing Holocaust. At that time, Poland and its people did a lot to restore that suppressed memory, and Polish society was open to much over-due dialogue on that painful but vital matter. Although Dream, Memory, Love project was not only about artistic re-addressing Holocaust, but  the theme played quite essential role in the project. It is possible to say that it was a moral compass of the project which in its entirety was about artistic rendering human memory and artistic interpretation of our values in the end of XX century – beginning of XXI century. 

The project run 15 exhibitions in 8 countries during a decade 1995-2005. The international tour started from two significant exhibitions in Finland, Jewish Way ( Espoo Theatre, April-May 1995) which happened to be the first , and the only one, to this day, exhibition on the Jewish theme by contemporary artist in Finland, and L’Amore ( Tampere Hall, January 1997) , the only retrospective of a living artist shown in the largest culture centre of Scandinavia and Northern Europe. It continued with three exhibitions in Poland, in Krakow, Oswiecim and Warsaw , all in 2004; major retrospective in Vilnius, Lithuania, two exhibitions in Riga, Latvia, including the exhibition in highly prestigious Museum of Black Brotherhood ( July 2004), two exhibitions in Tallinn, Estonia, including the exhibition at prestigious National Library of Estonia ( August 2005) , in the course of the project’s unfolding.

At Michael Rogatchi’s Dream, Memory, Love exhibition, part of the international tour, in Jerusalem. 2004. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

All three exhibitions in Poland were organised in highly significant places: Judaica Centre in Krakow, History Centre in Oswiecim ( which is the city in close proximity to the Nazi Auschwitz extermination camp),  and at the Gallery of the Historical Jewish Institute in Warsaw, the one of the most distinguished historical institutions in the world, and physical place where the Great Synagogue of Warsaw were standing before being blown up by the Nazis. 

Interesting enough, during the 15 exhibitions’ tour in eight countries , there was not a single similar one. All of them were curated by Inna Rogatchi in the way that every exhibition would be different. While exhibitions in Poland were focused on the artistic re-addressing Holocaust, all six exhibitions in the Baltic states were elegant retrospectives at the best art venues of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, and being pioneering contemporary Western figurative art retrospectives in those countries at the time. 

Followed major exhibition in Jerusalem did cause such overwhelming interest that it was prolonged for an extra month. The place for the exhibition proposed by the Municipality of Jerusalem cannot be more suitable, as the part of 65  works exhibited were dedicated to the artistic re-addressing Holocaust. Situated in the heart of Jerusalem, Gerard Behar  Art and Culture  Centre was in fact the place where the famous Eichmann Trial  took place in 1961. 

Michael Rogatchi and then Acting Mayor, vice-mayor of Jerusalem Yigal Amedi next to Michael’s My Stones. Jerusalem art work which has become the part of the Permanent Art Collection of the Municipality of Jerusalem. Jerusalem. 2004. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

In 2005, Dream, Memory, Love tour has moved to Italy, with two large retrospectives in Florence and Rome, at the prestigious venues of Il Pitigliani Centre in Rome and Jewish Museum in Florence. The focus of those two retrospectives in Italy was on the works depicting the Jewish heritage and tradition and the direction of metaphorical expressionism. 

A big retrospective in London did conclude the 10-year project. A wonderful exhibition was organised at Etz Chayim Synagogue in London which is the only designated art gallery among synagogue buildings and institutions in the whole UK. 

Dream, Memory, Love project had its distinct feature during entire decade of its unfolding, it was a philanthropic endeavour.  All fifteen exhibitions organised in eight countries have had a strong charitable part in each of them.  Depending on the needs of the hosting partners and co-organisers, Michael Rogatchi and The Rogatchi Foundation conducted many charitable initiatives connected to the Dream, Memory, Love international tour. It included special charitable Artist Talk and Discussion at  The Jewish Way exhibition in Espoo, and L’ Amore retrospective at the Tampere Hall in Finland; master-classes in Poland, charitable sales and donations in support of Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw and Judaica Centre in Krakow; special charitable sale in support of Children Oncology Institute in Vilnius; charitable sales and donations in support of the National Library of Estonia and the Culture Jewish Centre in Tallinn, as well as schools in Riga. It also included special charitable sales and donations in support of children cancer patients in Rome, and the Library  of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Florence and children art school there, along with charitable master-classes in Florence. In Jerusalem, the exhibition has become a framework for several charitable projects, including support of the children-victims of terror, and disadvantaged children in Jerusalem. In London, the exhibition heralded a special charitable campaign in support of new and much needed program for nurses specialising in particular cancer treatment at the Royal Marsden Hospital. All these charitable initiatives conducted through the Dream, Memory, Love decade-long project were having a long-lasting effect which was another worthy addition to the artistic dimension of the project. 

Michael Rogatchi with representative of the organisation of the families -victims of terror at the charitable ceremony in support of the children-victims of terror and their families, at his exhibition from Dream, Memory, Love project, in Jerusalem, in presence of the Ambassador of Finland , and the Acting Mayor of Jerusalem. 2004. (C) Michael Rogatchi Archive.

The project and its exhibitions has caused a big public interest in all eight countries of its undertaking, and there was a very wide media coverage of it. The project has also set example for many artists and institutions on perfect compatibility between art creation, art presentation, art education and art-based philanthropy. We are happy to know that our  Dream, Memory, Love project have had a long and positive echo among the public, colleagues artists and many institutions and organisations all over Europe.