Peter Jacob Maltz
5 Feb — 12 March, 2011
In his exhibition at the Jerusalem Artists’ House Peter Jacob Maltz displays ink drawings and a text that together forms the book “Roots”. The drawings incorporate the “Early Bezalel” style art produced by Ephraim Moses Lilien, and photographs taken by Maltz in Jerusalem and in Shaar Hagai during the summer of 2010. The result of this combination is surprising, sometimes harmonious and other times conflicting. The choice to present the work and launch the book at the Jerusalem Artists’ House is not accidental: Maltz chose the space because of its historical context – the original Bezalel building. Maltz sees this exhibition as the apex of his research into an allegorical journey, a journey which deals with self-discovery and the search for truth. In the past he has drawn inspiration from allegorical literature, such as The Divine Comedy of Dante and has added to it autobiographical characteristics. Now he himself has written an allegorical book, a book that combines ideas reflecting his personal life and which deals with religious fundamentalism, faith and art, New Age, neo-Zionism and Jerusalem. “Roots” tells the story of a character named David who travels from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv after a day of work as a lecturer at Bezalel. His car breaks down near the settlement of Shoresh (Root). While waiting for a tow truck, he decides to climb the Root Mountain, where he meets Jacob, who grew up as a “New Essene”. Jacob speaks about his views on faith and existence. Following the meeting and experience on the mountain, there is a change in David although he returns to his day to day routine. By following the structure of allegorical books, Maltz enables the reader to understand the book in a direct and simple manner but also at another level. By deciphering the metaphors and revealing their secrets the reader can achieve a deeper meaning of the story. For example the vehicle breaking down in the story is a metaphor for a life crisis and a call for change. Maltz wishes to enhance the experience of apparent reality with a reality of metaphysical characteristics.