Behind Vitraji Vulgarum
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The work Vitraji Vulgarum was presented as part of the exhibition The Left Hand, curated by Menachem Goldenberg and Galili Shachar, at the Genia Schreiber University Art Gallery in Tel Aviv, Israel. The exhibition asked to deal with the image of Satan among Israeli art. The curators looked at the character of Satan not as the demonic entity we all know, but as a metaphor for all that is "out of the right order", or in other words, what is referred to in Jewish mysticism as the Sitra Achra (the "Other Side"): the other side of the devine, the left side; that which is associated with evil and impurity, but also with creativity and sensuality.
The space of the University Gallery is large, spacious and spread over two floors. As soon as you enter the gallery, you will see the huge windows that surround its exterior walls, and give a very specific atmosphere for the entire space. When I entered the space for the first time, in order to find a place for my art work, I decided to ask the curators to let me work on the windows, and create a site specific piece especially for the exhibition. Since I could not work on the windows themselves, I have made the work on large transparency sheets, that I had adjusted to the proportions of the windows. The work was done in red and black glass-paints, and then glued onto the glass instead of being painted straight upon it.
To the question of what to draw on the sheets, I approached after examining the architecture of the place and how it dictates the visitor’s movement within the gallery. The gallery is located right on the border between the university and the street. It has two openings - one facing the street, and the other, located in the other side of the building, facing the campus. Theoretically, you can enter the gallery from the street, without going through the university's official gate, and then out to the campus through the two doors that are located in the other side. That is, the gallery is actually a passage between the street and the academy. Moving from the street to the campus through the gallery requires the climbing of some stairs (from the first floor of the gallery to its second one), and actually walking along the large windows, which start at the bottom of the stairs, and end at the two doors in the floor above.
I have now decided that in this work I would deal with the image of Nachash Hakadmoni, which is the mythical serpent from the Garden of Eden, that seduced Eve and made her taste the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The perspective I adopted on the story and on the serpent itself, is quite different than the way we were all trained to think of it, as a seductive creature that represents evil and is responsible for the deportation of man from paradise. In my own way of reading the story, the snake is the one who gave man the gift of knowledge, and the ability to distinguish between good and evil, i.e. ethics. A Jungian reading of the myth, will equate paradise to the pre-lingual state in which the human being has not yet developed his consciousness. It is a chaotic and boundless state in which man acts as an indistinguishable part of the world around him. It may be "paradise", but one that, without leaving it, you might never know of its existence (If there is no suffering, how would we ever know what pleasure is?). The serpent of Eden brought man to the knowledge, and thus led to his "deportation" from chaos. Knowing good and evil, nakedness, shame and guilt, is a source of great suffering, but also of pleasure and delight. It is the serpent who opens the eyes of humans, and allows them to look, and actually see, the world around them; To be separated and differentiated from the indistinctive and chaotic natural existence.