The strings touched by the right or left hand move, and the sound is sweet to the ear. And from the ear the sensation travels to the heart, and the heart to the spleen, and the enjoyment of the different melodies produces ever new delight. It is impossible to produce it except through the combination of sounds, and the same is true of the combination of letters. It touches the first string, which is comparable to the first letter, and proceeds to the second, third, fourth, and fifth, and the various forms combine. And the secrets, which express themselves in these combinations, delight the heart which acknowledges its God and is filled with ever fresh joy...
RABBI ABRAHAM ABULAFIA
LETTERS OF FOUNDATION 1993
THE LETTERS OF FOUNDATION – a contemporary interpretation of the ancient Hebrew alphabet [AlephBet] were but one facet of our site-specific, multimedia installation commissioned by Yeshiva University Museum, NYC for their 1993–94 exhibition, AISHET HAYIL/WOMAN OF VALOR.
This work was done in collaboration with the recently-deceased Israeli fiber artist, JULIA KEINER–FORCHHEIMER to whom the exhibition was dedicated. Each letter traces the evolution of its physical form back to 400 BCE.
Every tablet of our alphabet has collaged fragments of artistic output from the three of us. A museum researcher in Israel was able to locate actual, indigenous fibers that JULIA wove. We incorporated pieces from our own artworks that, for the first time ever, had been torn to rebirth their forces. Hence, every tablet has something each of us had made with their own hand, a manifestation of our creative beings and references the line in the poem reflecting our choice of the letter Shin to illustrate – Give her but the fruit of her own hands.
This allowed us to produce a unique and striking art series that weaves together multi–generational and multi–disciplined sensibilities.
In fusing our artistic entities and tracing the evolution of each letter from ancient times to present-day configurations, we join the continuum of the creative wellspring – spirit, matter and being. The spiritual powers inherent in these ancient letters continue to be a source of revelation to those who attempt to penetrate their mysteries.
IT IS OUR HOPE THAT THEY MAY SERVE
AS OUR SHIBBOLETH
TO THE NEVER-–ENDING STREAM
THAT HAS FLOWED
FROM BEFORE TIME
Tradition and Transformation
A showing of the
Letters of Foundation
at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
Inaugural Exhibition - Bell Gallery,
12/2000 – 7/2001
The Art of the Alef-Bet
A previous showing of the
Letters of Foundation
at San Francisco's
Bureau of Jewish Education
1/2000 - 3/2000
| Threads of many colors
place in the universe
Man is but a strand
in the web of life
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©1993-2018 - CoLabART, D. Paul/Small - Lynn Small + Dennis Paul
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