Virtues against a Virus/ 2021
Solo exhibition, 'Glasmoog' Raum für Kunst & Diskurs / Media Art Academy, Cologne
Photos: Martin Pluddemann, Manuel Ernst
What element turns a simple object or image into a luck charm? When does craft become witchcraft and mater turns into an idol?
Using different mediums, ‘Virtues against a Virus’ is seeking to find the component that creates this mystical sense.
Tracing back to the history of magic, religion and idolatry, this research brings up questions of identity, immigration and cultural appropriation.
Religions do not disappear; They are swallowed by new religions and continue to play roles in them. For this reason, there are a lot of similar elements in different religions, as well as contradictions within the same religion.
In Judaism, idolatry and magic are considered evil and are strictly forbidden and yet mystics and magic still find their way into Jewish traditions.
In the center of the installation stands the work ‘Black Wedding’, a painting (watercolor, pencils and spray paint on paper) based on photos taken in the Jewish ceremony.
‘Black Wedding’ is an ancient tradition against a plague. A wedding of two orphans, young people who have lost their families, which takes place in a cemetery.
The origin of the custom is in Eastern Europe and its purpose is to protect the community by doing charity such as marrying needy, orphaned, poor and disabled people with community funds. The ceremony is performed in a cemetery to express the victory of life over death and the rebirth that will come after the crisis.
such weddings were performed last year in order to stop the current pandemic.
Another work in the installation is the video work ‘Segulot’. In Kabbalah (a stream in Judaism) the term ‘Segulot’ refers to spiritual remedies, rituals preformed for good luck or protection. This work explores the cultural world of ‘Segulot’. The texts in the video are based on users comments in religious online forums.
Other works in the installation are objects and paintings following the aesthetics of ritual object from different cultures in different times. Together they attempt to form an alternate reality that allows a religious experience to take place.
As an Israeli immigrant in Germany, the Artist is dealing with personal questions of identity through the search of origins in the spiritual and physical world.
Some of symbols appearing in the works bear clear cultural connotations while other have an independent existence, further away from the source.