Introduction by Yona Fischer
Catalogue: "Itineraries and Forms", 1976
Arie Aroch (born in Kharkov, 1908, died in Jerusalem, 1974) was an unusual figure in the history of Israeli art. During his first years as an independent artist (1935-1945) he was loyal to the ideals of his generation--landscape and portrait artists--and absorbed the influences of the local scene and of Paris, both of which shaped the nature of the Expressionistic school in Mandatorial Palestine. In the years 1946-1955 he was close to the group Ofakim Hadashim (New Horizons), which he helped found in 1948. During this period his work knew its first important turning point: contrary to the trend that led his colleagues to lyrical, mainly amorphous, abstraction, Aroch used unconventional techniques to develop specific forms he called "concrete." From 1948 onward he spent extended periods in various countries.
Those were times of withdrawal to his studio but also of in-depth dealing with issues of creativity.

From then on, Aroch's work began to grow as an accumulation of facts, among them, forms developed by the forerunners of modern art, etched in childhood memories, absorbed from literature, traditional motifs, popular images, anonymous objects... In the last fifteen years of his life, his painting came to articulate, by a complex process of fusion and contrast, a grid of interconnected meanings, relationships both hidden and overt, between the artist and his environment, between his times and other times, between his own forms and forms and images that he found. "For me the period is more crucial than the work's value," Aroch said. "You can analyze an artist, appreciate him and you've still not touched on time, the inevitability time imposed on the work."

Times, places and forms are intertwined in Aroch's work. These relationships were not formed systematically, if only because he avoided specializing in certain materials, forms, styles. The forms were born at various times in various places as though these were stops scattered along his entire creative itinerary. Techniques, motifs and materials run through series of works, disappear and reappear in a new context, in another series, another place, another time.

To illustrate Aroch's complex world we arranged the exhibition in sections, each representing a theme in his work in the largest sense of the term. We saw fit to use not only finished works but also sketches, notes, interview quotes and material that inspired the artist. We are grateful to his wife and his friends for their help and information.