Interviews | September 19, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of David Rakia

Interview: David Rakia
Luca Curci
talks with his daugther, Karin Rakia, during the 11th EDITION of CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2022, at Palazzo Bembo.

Rakia was born in Vienna in 1928 and came to Israel at the age of ten. With the end of the War of Independence he began studying with the artist Ardon, and afterwards attended the “Bezalel” school. From 1955-1960 he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. His first showings, in a surrealistic symbolic style, were held at that time at the Musee d’art Moderne in Paris, as well as in Switzerland. From his fellow artist he already won the title of “anthroposopher“. Upon his return to Israel in 1960, he began a series of drawings in which Hebrew letters played a central part. A year later an extensive individual exhibition of Rakia’s work was held at the Tel Aviv Museum. Following the Six Day War, Jerusalem became a central theme in the artist’s work. The city, as the essence of the national destiny was concretized both realistically and symbolically: beside the archways, walls and plants, the letters had, from time to time, figurative and abstract shapes. In the seventies a new spirit filled Rakia’s work: beside the previous world of shapes appear horses, in a range of hues and positions, accompanied by musical instruments. What- ever the forms and subjects may be, the reflection of light shining in the background is in all his works. Sometimes the light is green, blue or red; sometimes it is concentrated in a circle, or it appears diffuse. Light is one of the strongest expressions in Rakia’s world view as it is reflected in his art. It is an ongoing attempt to touch the mystical experience and the tie between our national existence and the cosmic order around us. The forms and colors are a means of reifying the cosmic cycles of time, light and sound. Man himself appears infrequently in these works, Rakia preferring to place in them his longings to understand and to touch the wonderful system which surrounds his existence. Rakia’s works have been displayed in over 100 individual exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world, and they are also to be found in important art collections. Rakia passed away in 2012, a plaza was dedicated to David Rakia in the center of Jerusalem on October 2021.

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Image courtesy of David Rakia

Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Karin Rakia –
My father the artist David Rakia lived and worked in Jerusalem, Jerusalem takes a central role in his artwork. In his cosmic paintings, Jerusalem also is in the centre and Rakia integrates the city into the universe. In his cosmic paintings, the present is located in the centre of life and it is seen by Rakia as eternity.

LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
KR –
David Rakia painted while listening to classical music and he stressed the great similarity between light and sound, between space and matter and between past and future.

LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
KR –
David Rakia had many different periods in his art life, begging with his art studies in Paris with a focus on workers, personal and psychological dejection to spiritual Jerusalem paintings to cosmic then he studied Kabbalah and painted the Hebrew letters, in the end of his years he painted more abstract paintings.

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Image courtesy of David Rakia

LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
KR –
Humanizem zionizem and Judaism influenced Rakia’s work. Rakia was a very spiritual artist, he studied Kabbalah and his art was influenced by Kabbalistic themes. His subjects are Jerusalem, the cosmos, the Hebrew letters and Kabbalah.

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
KR –
The concept of the exhibition corresponds with David Rakia’s art perfectly, the relationship between bodies and space engaged Rakia in many of his “cosmos” paintings.

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Image courtesy of David Rakia

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
KR –
The Creation was chosen to be part of the Venice exhibition due to the Italian art influence on this piece and specifically the art in Venice for example: the man kneeling looking up, the connection between God and Humanity, the sun as a mask and the colour palette Rakia has chosen to use in the piece. The Creation is one of David Rakia’s cosmic works made in the ’90s. In the center of the painting is the artist city, Jerusalem, standing as a moral symbol.

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
KR –
The ITSLIQUID Platform is in my opinion a good one.

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Image courtesy of David Rakia
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Image courtesy of David Rakia
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Image courtesy of David Rakia

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