With biographical notes

René Blättermann (*1951) was born the son of Jewish-Christian parents in Berlin. He was raised in Bad Kreuznach, West Germany, and now lives and works near Lübeck. After high school, he trained to be a shop decorator and worked in this profession for many years. During this time, he gained extensive knowledge about materials, decorative techniques and methods, all of which now forms the technical foundation for his work. In autodidactic study, the artist acquired further skills and proficiency in the domain of graphic design and eventually started working as a freelance graphic artist in 1992.

Affected by the Jewish-Christian back-ground of his family, he researched their recent past and then started exploring the over 3000 years of ancient history and culture of the Jewish people. The inter-connections and relationships with other cultures and religions, especially the Jewish-Christian history of the past 2000 years, are the topic of his work.

René Blättermann felt affirmed by the thoughts of Gustav Landauer who wrote in 1913: “Is it heard of and does there exist another example of the fact that the Jews live right amidst other nations, but that about their lives, which are completely out in the open and not at all out of sight, there exist only hearsay and rumors?”

Still, ignorance prevails regarding large areas of Jewish culture and history, particularly about the post-biblical era. But Jewish history doesn’t end with the writing of the Old Testament: Jewish life has evolved and changed, together with and alongside other cultures.

With the graphic works of the HEBREW cycle René Blättermann opens the possibility to encounter Jewish history and culture. He facilitates this by not placing emphasis on the cruel and difficult to grasp experiences of the 20th century, but instead by presenting symbols and imagery from a history spanning 5772

years, from the beginning of the Jewish calendar - its stage: the whole world.

He establishes direct references to Jewish life by choosing everyday ritual objects from over 3000 years of religious history - a Sabbath lamp, a Torah scroll, the Star of David, a Hanukkah Menorah, or a Pesach Haggadah.

Accompanying texts position the objects depicted in his works in a context of time and place and aid the visitor’s engagement with the (hi)story and provide background information.

For his investigation into Judaism, René Blättermann chose the visual arts. Since there exists a large volume of publications - essays, books and films - about Jewish history and culture, but the topic is barely represented in contemporary visual arts.

The graphic works, all of which are original and unique prints, shouldn’t be taken special note of for their artistic compo-sition [design / aesthetics] only. For René Blättermann his art serves as a means to: “show history through images and use the viewer’s aesthetic sense to make the past into something that can be grasped and experienced. The pictures are an opportunity to further the understanding of the Jewish religion and culture. Thereby they may counteract century-old distorted representations of Judaism, and curb antisemitism.”

As the title and theme of his work René Blättermann chose THE HEBREW CYCLE. He explores objects and artifacts from the Jewish past and present, and places them in the new context of his artistic work.

The gaps in space and time are irrelevant for his objective: ties are established and history can be seen in a different light.

The artist continuously expands the HEBREW CYCLE, including new series like SYNAGOGA, GENIZAH, ALEF BET, or KIDDUSHIN.