Messiah. // information. 

Messiah. invents fragments of a lost manuscript by Polish Jewish artist and writer Bruno Schulz (1892-1942), creating an intimate world grounded in the aesthetic ideas of Schulz’s rich, ambiguous and multilayered oeuvre. 

Bruno Schulz and his work 

Schulz was born in 1892 in Drohobych, a small town in the Austro-Hungarian province of Galicia. After the First World War Drohobych became part of Poland, and it is now part of the Ukraine. Schulz spent most of his life in the town. During the Second World War he was forced to live in the ghetto of Drohobych and was temporarily protected by a Nazi officer who admired his drawings. He was killed there in 1942.

Much of Schulz’s writing and visual work focus on life in Drohobych and its community, his troubled, maddening father, his father’s fabric shop and the family home. He was the author of two collections of short stories (written in his native Polish) ‐ ‘Cinnamon Shops’ and ‘Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass’, and the creator of a portfolio of dream-­like cliché verre etchings entitled ‘A Book of Idolatry’. The manuscript of his final, unfinished novel, ‘Messiah’, has been lost.  


“There are things that cannot ever occur with any precision. They are too big and too magnificent to be contained in mere facts. They are merely trying to occur, they are checking whether the ground of reality can carry them. And they quickly withdraw, fearing to lose their integrity in the frailty of realisation.”

Bruno Schulz, ‘The Book’, 'Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass’


Messiah. is part of Tsafrir's ongoing engagement with Schulz’s oeuvre. Decomposition_Alef. - a series of mixed-­media work incorporating photography, processed archival and organic material, fabric, moving-image and sound, is created alongside Messiah. and is likewise inspired by Schulz's oeuvre as well as elements of his life story.             


In 2009 – 2010 Tsafrir co-produced and was the Art Director and Production Designer of 'Calico', a short film (drama, running time 23 minutes, format: Red, 4.5k) inspired by the work of Schulz.  The film was shot in Gothenburg, Sweden in July 2010 and was released in 2011. 

Using Format