Curator: Dr. Smadar Sheffi
Participating Artists: Micha Ullman | Vardi Bobrow | David Benarroch | Avner Sher | Pesi Girsch
The works in Human Nature: Shared Sensitivities search for the convergent point of reality where opposites meet and are penetrated by the doubts that such a point exists. These are reflections on the fracture in a wounded consciousness. Webs of meaning link the works: all are concerned with liminal areas, flexibility and obsession, and meditate on the point where the paths in a dispute separate and converge in reconciliation. Friction between time and space, objects and memory, becomes tangible in the installation by Pesi Girsch, Window and the Shadow of Books. Girsh uses volumes of the Encyclopedia Hebraica, once the crowning glory of the Hebrew Enlightenment but today superfluous, alongside mise-en-scène photographs of books and furniture, moments of refined beauty and pain snatched from time. The encyclopedia echoes the failure of twofold optimism: the Age of Enlightenment belief that knowledge can be encompassed and that its foundations are unchanging; and the early days of the State of Israel, when the first Encyclopedia Hebraica was published and signified the culmination of general and Jewish culture. In the photographs, Girsch uses the books as construction materials, creating a floor that allows growth and a metaphorical supporting pillar for the ceiling. In the only work without text, a metal bed becomes a sacred chariot crowned with pomegranates from a Torah scroll. Culture and violence are welded together in stones marked with text in the mixed media installation Like the First by Avner Sher: the moment when Moses smashes the Tablets of the Covenant after descending from Mount Sinai and discovering that the Israelites are worshipping the Golden Calf. The stones symbolize violence, especially political violence, as well as execution by stoning and the Jewish custom of placing a stone on a grave to mark one’s visit. Sher creates a complex encounter between text, the embodiment of culture that has moderated and replaced the tangible and the descriptive with symbols, and a mythical moment when the corporeal, the Golden Calf, seemed to replace the abstract belief in an invisible God.
(The Wolfson Museum of Jewish Art)
Address: 58 King George St.
Sunday- Thursday: 10am-5pm