ERASING HIS NAME, GOD MULTIPLIED THE ROADS.6
With characteristically post-modern scepticism and a penchant for questioning rather than finding answers, both Neustein and Jabès approach the ideas of God and religion as culturally inherited notions that need to be addressed. The scorched desert of contemporary intellectual wondering, just like Qumran7, is a fertile expanse of nothingness that can yield the unknown, the invisible. Archaeology unearths dormant traces of history, while writing pushes at the edge of silence to bring forth the unsaid. Similarly, Margins explores apparent and concealed ideas of the Dead Sea Scrolls, exposing them to the light of our times.
1 Edmond Jabès, The Book of Resemblances, II. Intimations The Desert (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1990), p. 31. All quotes included in this essay appear in Margins.
2 Ibid, p. 39.
3 Edmond Jabès, The Book of Resemblances, III. The Ineffaceable The Unperceived (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1990), p. 31.
4 For a more extensive analysis of the chandelier’s symbolism see Arthur C. Danto’s essay on Joshua Neustein in Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap Between Art and Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), pp. 308-309.
5 Edmond Jabès, The Book of Resemblances, II. Intimations The Desert (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1990), p. 7.
6 Edmond Jabès, The Book of Margins (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), p. 94.
7 Site in the Judean Desert by the Dead Sea, close to the caves where the Scrolls were discovered.
Joshua Neustein was born in Poland in 1940 and currently lives and works in New York. He is known primarily for his complex installations, as well as his Post-Minimalist paper works and large scale map paintings. After immigrating to Israel in 1964, Neustein made a significant impact and is considered one of the founding figures of Environmental and Conceptual Art in the local cultural scene. Neustein has exhibited in museums and galleries around the world including the Barbican Arts Centre (London, England), Martin-Gropius-Bau (Berlin, Germany), the Chelsea Art Museum (New York), The Jewish Museum (New York), Mary Boone Gallery (New York), SECCA (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), Albright Knox Gallery (Buffalo, New York), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, California), MOCA (Los Angeles, California), MAK (Vienna, Austria), Museu DʼArt Contemporani (Barcelona, Spain), Museum of Contemporary Art (Tokyo, Japan), The Rose Art Museum (Waltham, Massachusetts), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (Israel), and Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, Poland).
Design and editing: Tony Hewer | Photography: Isaac Applebaum
Digital publication to the exhibition Margins
Presented by the Koffler Gallery Off-Site at the Royal Ontario Museum in collaboration with the Institute for Contemporary Culture | June 27, 2009 to March 28, 2010
Curator: Mona Filip
© Koffler Centre of the Arts, 2009, in collaboration with the individual contributors. All rights reserved.