Installation at the Beit Hatfutsot Museum, Tel Aviv
Curator: Carmit Blumensohn, 2014
Photos: Barak Brinker
"Assi Meshullam invites the viewer to a different universe; a spiritual, mystical and transcendental world in which the 'shamanistic', 'magical' and 'esoteric' are prevalent. The yearning for contact with other worlds, with secret unknown powers, between external worlds of gods and demons and internal, subconscious, irrational worlds, has existed in various cultures from time immemorial. It was Aristotle who divided knowledge in two: exoteric (external) knowledge intended for a broad public, and esoteric (internal) – secret or hidden – knowledge, intended for an inner circle. Through magical faith and the esoteric, a person succeeds in shaking off the shackles of possibility, and introduces the belief in the impossible into his life in order to better deal with the inexplicable around him, with the forces of nature and the nullity of life.
An avid student of ancient cultures with a degree in archaeology, Meshullam examines aspects of faith, identity, and belonging in various spiritual worlds through animal and human symbolism. He is motivated by engagement with the apparatus itself: the mechanism of faith and ritualism. Adopting the modi operandi of the apparatus, he creates an entire set of images which explore nothingness, faith, and the lack thereof as symbols with profound impact on our lives.
Amulets add yet another layer to the protection mechanism a person erects for himself, as a set of psychic processes and actions. Their role is to protect the soul from negative feelings and anxieties. Affordable commodities, amulets fulfill an important function in the dissemination of ideas, hope, faith, and even fear, which the religious apparatus holds for its faithful. Meshullam is intrigued by the attempt to transform lack of faith into a symbolic visual object, making it the focus of his artistic practice".
- Carmit Blumensohn, Mazal U'Bracha, 2014.