Krajcberg, the poet of fire

Photos by Manu Dias/ Government of Bahia/Flickr
Photo by Manu Dias/ Government of Bahia/Flickr

Frans Krajcberg, the Jewish refugee that creates beauty from burned hardwood in a small beach of the Northeast, just turned 90. His work is frequently seen as an environmental libel, but it is also the use of nature as a metaphor by someone that couldn’t be in peace with History and humans. “I go to the woods and feel as burned as the trees”, he often says.  “My works are my manifest. The fire is death, abyss. The fire is always with me. The destruction has forms. I am searching for images to scream my revolt.”

Krajcberg was born in Kozienice, Poland, and moved to Russia and then France after losing his family in the Holocaust. In Paris, he became a protegé of  Marc  Chagall and Georges Braque. Later, in 1948, he moved to Brazil, where he found inspiration in fallen trees, frequently burned by intentional fires – images that portrait human destruction and the eternal menace on the forests of Nova Viçosa, in the south of Bahia, where he established his workshop.

Espaço Frans Krajcberg in Curitiba. Photo by Sam Emerick/ Flickr
Espaço Frans Krajcberg in Curitiba. Photo by Sam Emerick/ Flickr

About his Brazilian experience, Krajcberg says:

I was born in this world called nature and I felt its greatest impact in Brazil. Here I feel I was born for a second time; here I became conscious of being a man and of participating in life with my sensibility, my work, my thoughts… Except for the Indians, here we all come from abroad and relate to the wild forests, rich, full of movement, vibrating with colours, growing freely. Here I do not feel stifled by the cultivated woods of Europe or worried by the European intolerances.

Photo by Gabriela Allegro/Flickr
Photo by Gabriela Allegro/Flickr

You can learn more about his work with this article or this peculiar documentary, “Socorro Nobre”, directed by Walter Salles (“Central do Brasil”/Brazil Station and “The Motorcycle Diaries”). Krajcberg talks about his story and his art and crosses his path with Socorro Nobre’s –  an inmate that was sentenced to more than twenty-one years  in a Salvador prison. You can see it here, but unfortunately only in Portuguese.

4 thoughts on “Krajcberg, the poet of fire”

  1. I have a big smile at my face to see a pic i did at a lovely article. a delicious surprise for tonight. tks:)

  2. Sweet, Gabriela. It is a great image. And thank you so much for writing – this way your name will be attached to the post. It is a pity the photo entry on Flickr didn’t indicate your name as the author.

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