Simon Glass


YAHWEH!, 1995

The exhibition "YAHWEH!" is made up of four suites of silver prints. Each one combines photographic images with Hebrew text, which is read from right to left. "YAHWEH!" has been exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Tokyo and St. Petersburg, Russia.

Yahweh

In "Yahweh", four silver prints show the letters that spell the not-to-be uttered name of the God of the Jews, traditionally considered to be the author of history. These letters are superimposed upon photographs taken in 1945, upon the liberation of various concentration camps in Europe. The prints are arranged one below the other, forming a column about six feet high, reaching almost to the floor.

Merciful and Gracious

"Merciful and Gracious"is a suite of nine silver prints with gouache. Each shows the image of a prisoner at Auschwitz. These photographs, from the archives at Auschwitz, show the prisoners as they were dressed, posed and photographed by their Nazi captors. A Hebrew letter appears on the surface of each print. The nine letters spell the two words rakhum vekhanun, merciful and gracious, two of the Thirteen Attributes of God.

Book of Formation

"Book of Formation", or Sepher Yetsirah, is a suite of twenty-two small silver prints with sepia toning and gold leaf. Each print shows a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the texture of skin. The piece draws on ideas from the Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. The Sepher Yetsira, or Book of Formation, is an ancient Kabbalistic creation myth, in which the universe and all it contains are created from the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter is thought to be responsible for the creation of a part of the body and a part of the universe. The arrangement of letters in this piece begins the array which according to many interpretations of the Sepher Yetsira, can be used to bring a clay figure to life, thus creating a golem. The mythical Golem has been called upon in the past to protect the Jews from their enemies.

Golem 1 and Golem 2

"Golem I" and "Golem II" are silver prints with blue toner and gouache. Each shows a face with the three Hebrew letters aleph, mem, tuv, spelling the word Emeth , truth. It is truth which animates the creature, and according to folklore these letters appear on the Golem's forehead. If the creature goes out of control, as he does in many of the tales, his master must remove the aleph, leaving the letters mem, tuv, spelling the word meth, dead, bringing the creature to a halt. According to legend the Golem is sleeping in the attic of the Alte Neue synagogue in Prague, waiting.