The Jackleg Testament Part I: Jack & Eve
is a one-of-a-kind motion picture derived from the crisply
styled woodcuts of Kentucky-born Jay Bolotin
(b.1949). The film reinterprets the story of Adam and
Eve as a dark, provocative tale in which Eve is lured
from the Garden of Eden by a Jack-in-the-Box. Presiding
over the story is Nobodaddy, a mischievous, unforgiving
creator, named after William Blake’s term for God
within the Old Testament.
Bolotin’s world is meticulously
and vividly realised, an evocative hybrid of German expressionism,
Brueghel and medieval religious imagery. An operatic score
and soundtrack, composed by Bolotin,
propels the film throughout, featuring the voices of the
great English tenor Nigel Robson, Wagnerian
bass Monte Jaffe, Karin Bergquist,
lead singer of US band Over the Rhine, and Bolotin
himself. The script, also written by the artist, is rich
in literary echoes, from Shakespeare to Kafka, and often
Bolotin is a prolific artist, writer, composer,
performer, set designer, musician and filmmaker. Born
in Kentucky, 1949, his woodcuts are represented in collections
including Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum of Contemporary
Art, San Diego and Seattle Art Museum, and he has composed
and performed scores for opera, dance productions, films
Testament Part I: Jack & Eve and other works
is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition.
Images: From top
to bottom, images 1, 2 and 4: Jay Bolotin, stills from
The Jackleg Testament Part I, 2005. Image 3: Jay Bolotin,
Jack Breaks Free, 2005. Colour woodblock print. All images
Courtesy the artist.
JHG Director Stephen Foster in conversation with Jay Bolotin.
Video produced by e-media, University of Southampton.
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