Haim Sokol | Moscow

Haim Sokol | Moscow

Haim is an artist and professor at the Moscow Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia, School of Design at the Higher School of Economics and member of the editorial board at the Moscow Art Magazine. He was born and grew up in Arkhangelsk - an ancient Northern town in Russia, then with his parents he moved to Ukraine. Later he immigrated to Israel for sixteen years and since 2007 he is based in Moscow.

As an artist, Haim works with installation, sculpture, and video, and since recently he focuses a lot on painting and drawing. His art addresses the topics of alienation and isolation in the modern world. While working with archival materials and private documents, he reveals the history of the twentieth century through the personal destinies, and explores the problems of historical memory in the current socio-political context.

This dystopian sequence of his graphic series called The Uprising became an animated video (composed by Mikhail Oleynikov) for Zog Nit Keynmol - a song of Jewish Partisans.

Haim Sokol: The Uprising, 2018

Haim Sokol: The Uprising, 2018

For the Partizan Jam Haim Sokol proposed a series of 85 graphic works. With black ink-like expressive strokes on the standard A3 paper sheets artist "writes" a nightmarish story in which peoples' masses and wild creatures are struggling and fighting against brutal forces (or all against all). Crowds, haunted by the animals, are marching, lining up at the burials. And there is always an image of a little boy with a tiny sword and a square shield - apparently the protagonist of an unknown epos.

For Haim, the practice of drawing is a form of writing down - écrivez. That's also why the characters of his black and white graphic artworks often appear like written letters, characters of a phantasmal alphabet. His written down drawings are filled with encrypted actual stories. Thus The Uprising is based on the memories of artist's father, Dolik Sokol.

Haim tells: My father, as an 11-year-old boy, ended up in a ghetto in German-occupied Ukraine, narrowly escaped being shot, he fled, he hid and wandered, and eventually reunited with his parents, Nekha and Froym, in a partisan squad. As part of a partisan brigade, my future father fought until the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis.

In The Uprising the enliven memories are mixed with live imagination. The true story of a little boy takes a shape of a myth or a fairytale, and turns into an epic. Here, as in a palimpsest, the anti-Roman uprising of Bar-Kokhba, the October Revolution and the World War II are mixed together. That's why the boy is holding a sword, and instead of a shield - a Black Square of Malevich.