Simon Glass

The Ten Commandments/Prohibited Weapons, 2005

“The Ten Commandments/Prohibited Weapons” is a suite of ten giclee prints, 44”x22”, embellished with 23.5k gold leaf: illuminated Hebrew manuscripts. They show the full Hebrew text of the Ten Commandments combined with photographic imagery showing palms of hands, floral tapestries and weapons prohibited by the Canadian criminal code: snub nosed pistols, switchblades and butterfly knives. The law is juxtaposed with imagery suggesting its most grave consequence, namely violence – as well as destiny and comfort. Small images inset at the bottom of the first and tenth commandments show a thistle and a flaming sword; both are Biblical symbols of banishment from the Garden of Eden, symbols of the mythical confounding of language and fall from the state of grace.

A given idiom will not always, or perhaps ever, convey the same thing to any two individuals. The illusion of denotation that is essential to language determines that both the possibility and the impossibility of justice are mitigated because there can be no justice without law yet no law will always be just. Each of us who has been exposed to any law, has to decide according to circumstances whether or not to abide. Free will is thrust upon us.

Each of the first five commandments, which represent transgressions against God, is paired with one of the latter five commandments, which represent transgressions against others. The prints are presented with translation into English modified from that of the Jewish Publication Society.

To view Louis Kaplan's "Laws of Glass: The Ten Commandments/Prohibited Weapons" in Prefix Photo #17 Click Here