One has to be familiar, in depth, with the biography of Jerzy Biechonski, in order to understand his works, expressing a constant protest against wars.
He says: "All my life I have been witnessed wars, and I participated in some of them. What I saw and experienced, became a theme of my works. I mean neither roars of battles, nor pictures from the war or a heroic pride. The message which I wanted to pass referred to what has been left after all these, grandiose
plans and killed soldiers...Scorched soil is what I want to portray..."
The Second World War had the greatest influence on Jerzy already at the age of nine he was forced to flee away from bombing airplanes,during the German invasion of Poland.Afterwards the German terror started,
including raids, arrests and killing on the spot. As a youngster, he fought
during the uprising.
This bloody period of time resulted in numerous works, starting with the print of a visa, carrying a note without citizenship
which expresses detacheness of an ex-citizen, expelled from his homeland. And later on, a series of empty clothes, created under
impression of the event in which graves of soldiers, burried in rush during
the Warsaw uprising, have been opened for identification. When the grave of one of Jerzy's friend has been opened, the body already "disappeared", and what was left, were the clothes alone.
The shirt with imprinted numbers in red relates to January 1945, and tothe entrance of Russian soldiers, who had to get rid of the bodies of killed Germans: the Russian placed frozen corpses under caterpillers of tanks and metal buttons have been left, pressed into the road surface.
The shirt with sleeves tied together in the back, on a darkening background, tellls the whole story without words.
A woman's dress represents attack on hospital nurses during the occupation, when the patients have been murdered and the nurses have been raped and killed. Here again the empty dress tells the story of death and disappearing of the body, records the blow and the end of existence.
Jerzy Biechonski says: "When you look at a new and freshly painted European freight-train, with a closed door, there are three possibilities: either soldiers going to the front, to their death, the same carriage, going in opposite directions, full of prisoners-of-war, or a train full of Jews, going in both directions. According to army standards, one can load into a single car 8 horses, or 40 soldiers. on 80 Jews, and sometimes more...''
In he Six-Day-War, during a sand storm in Sinai, a dune of sand rose to the air, and in a surrealistic scene uncovered skeletons, burned cars along endless roads,, propellers rotating in the wind - ghost cars - burned helicopters in an air base, like a monstrous environmental sculpture, all these have been scalded in soul and led him to deal with the horrors of war.
His son has been severely wounded during the first minutes of Yom Kippur War, one of his works is composed of pictures of his son with a weapon, as a faiing soldier in different situations, in correspondence with the personal history of the artist, processed into existencial experience in the artistic language of Biechonski.
During the Lebanon War he sat in his garden and watched the planes, loaded with bombs, and returning empty after some time, "look how efficient is our air force!'' said his friend, but Jerzy felt on the ground as if he personally has been bombed.
All his approach to life is based on humanizm and empathy for the victims . The Lebanon War introduced into his works the apocalipse riders, lack of control caused by the war and the apocaliptic scripts which his consciousness relates to, the apocalipse of the Second World War, the apocalipse of Vietnam War, and the apocalipse of the Lebanon War, the same continuation, separated in time and in space, brought a series of horrifying works.
Hana Barak Engel, curator
Jerzy Biechonski was born in 1930, in the district of Podole, in Poland.
During World War II, whilst still a boy, he served as an A.K. (Home Army) soldier in
the Polish underground.
He emigrated from Poland in 1957 and since then he lives and works in Israel.
1985 Geva Gallery, Israel
1986 Open Space Gallery, Haifa, Israel
1992 Hanover Gallery, Liverpool, England
Posk Gallery, London, England*
Municipal Museum, Naharyia, Israel*
1995 Poleski Osrodek Sztuki, Lodz, Poland*
1997 Posk Gallery, London, England*
1998 Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
IAC/Galeria ZERO, Barcelona, Spain
2000 Lesley College, Natania, Israel
2003 Galeria ZERO, Barcelona, Spain
2004 RETROSPECTIVE, Bar David Museum, Kibutz Baram, Israel
2006 Art Museum Sichuan University,Chengdu,China
2007 Art Gallery of Mianyang Normal University,Mianyang,China
Academy of Fine Arts,Chengdu,China
SELECTED GROUP SHOWS
1984 The Home Army in Art, Posk Gallery, London, England*
1985 Artists'Association, Haifa,
1986 The Artist in War, Art Centre, Nazareth
1987 Kfar Youssuf - Four Artists in the Country, Gallilee
1989 Beit Hayotzer Gallery, Haifa
1990 The Lost War, Haifa*
1991 Group 24, Beit Hayotzer, Haifa
North Autumm Exhibition, Tefen
Museum International, Cadaques, Spain
1992 Creating Peace, Haifa/Jerusalem/Tel Aviv*
1996 XVI Mini Print Guernica, Bilbao, Spain I Espacio Curvado, Madrid,
Spain 1 XVII Mini Print International, Spain*
1997 Pequeno es Grande, Barcelona, Spain
1998 International Art Encounter II, Barcelona, Spain VI Biennale de
Gravure, Paris, France
1999 Artists from Anywhere, Galeria ZERO, Barcelona, Spain Gallery
Brocken, Koganei, Tokyo, Japan* 1 Artist House, Tel Aviv
2000 Contrast 2000, Amsterdam, Netherlands* I Summer 2000, Barcelona, Spai
2001 Summer 2001, Barcelona, Spain Hanita Contemporary Art Museum,
Israel Small is Big IV, Galeria ZERO, Barcelona, Spain
2002 Hanita Contemporary Art Museum, Galilee, Israel
Gallery Sulegaarden, Assens, Danemark
Small Works 2002, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
UP to KIPIVANKKI, Jamsa, Finland
2003 Summer 2003, Barcelona, Spain
2005 MEETING,Art Gallery
26e Miniprint Internacional de Cadaques,Spain
2006 V Bienala Internationala de Grafica Mica,Cluj,Romania
III Meeting,Xianmen China
4Biennale of Miniature,Czenstochowa,Poland
Hanita Museum of Modern Art,Galilee,
2007 Abstract Gallery,Shanghai,China
2008 PickledArt Center,Beijing,China
2011 10 Lessedra Mini Print,Sofia,Bulgaria
2012 Mixed Media Exibition,Sofia Bulgaria
2012 4thGuanlan International Print Biennial,China
1966 Polish Convent "Dom Polski", 12m2
1987 Magdal K'roum, Galilee, 48m2