Kaszemacher Gallery Safed

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Yackov Kaszemacher
Yackov Kaszemacher
גלריה יעקב כזמכר
Ya’ak-ov Kaj-a-ma’ch-er
Tzfat artist with Kabbalistic and Chasidik oriented paintings and photography.

Ya’akov Kaszemacher lived and worked in Tzfat for close to 40 years. His connections to the Sanz Hassidic community gave him unique access to photograph members of this insular society.


[edit] Background

Yakov Kaszemacher was born in France to Jewish Polish refugees who raised him in a secular environment. He became involved with the beatniks of the ‘50s and then the hippies of the ‘60s, both in the nightclubs of St. Germain Des Pres in Paris and then in Greenwich Village in New York. He embarked on a spiritual quest in 1971 and decided to live in Tzfat where he infused his artwork with Jewish, Hassidic and Kabbalistic content.

[edit] Painting Style

Kaszemacher began to experiment with different art styles in the ‘50s and ‘60s. He varied his techniques and mediums but mostly favored bold colors and hard edges in a constructionist approach. After his religious awakening he continued to use these techniques to express mathematical and mystical themes. He saw his art as a meditative support and created his works in a way that each design could include multi-layered religious significance.

Kaszemacher’s works are often concretic or circular and are frequently used as mandalas - mystical circles employed as visual stimulation for meditation.

[edit] Photography

By the 1980s Kaszemacher had begun to branch into photography which, he felt, could capture images and evoke feelings about the local community. He was trusted by the members of his adopted Sanz Hassidic community and allowed to photograph the community’s leaders as well as many special life-cycle events and personal occasions. The sight of Kaszemacher racing through the Tzfat streets in Hassidic garb with his state-of-the-art camera slung over his shoulder was a common scene for many years. Kaszemacher sought to create photographs that exclude contemporary objects in order to leave the viewer with sense of the scene’s timelessness. This, Kaszemacher felt, reflected the timelessness of the Torah life and the continuation of a living, vibrant and vital community.

Kaszemacher was an early experimenter with digital photography and he enhanced his photographs to create swirling intertwined images in an effort to incorporate that same effect of timelessness. He combined the landscape of Tzfat with Jewish and Hassidic themes and subject-matter. He produced his photographs as composite paintings, silk-screen prints and computer graphics which often have the feel of a 3D effect.

[edit] Gallery

Kaszemacher passed away in 2011 but his son continues to operate his gallery and exhibit his works. The Kaszemacher gallery is located on Yosef Caro Street in the Old Jewish Quarter of Safed.


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