Collection Tableaux

Four works find ways to explore the table as a place where festivity, sanctity, and history converge. Just as the dining table is transformed into a sacred space by the observance of the Sabbath, so the delicate materials used here: Glass, paper, and linen—are transformed into something ethereal and poetic.

Art Exhibition previously on at The Jewish Museum in New York, United States.
From Friday 23 November 2012 to Sunday 03 February 2013

Laid Table with Etrog Container and Pastry Molds image Friday Evening image Studio Armadillo image Salonière image

Published by anonymous on Monday 12 November 2012.
Contact the publisher.

Isidor Kaufmann’s painting Friday Evening sets the stage: a lone woman in traditional Jewish dress of the eastern Habsburg Empire sits at a Sabbath table. Kaufmann’s impulse was both romantic and ethnographic: to preserve the folkways of a vanishing provincial Jewish culture.

To create Laid Table with Etrog Container and Pastry Molds, a commission for The Jewish Museum, Beth Lipman crafted glass replicas of holiday and food-related objects in the museum’s Judaica collection. Here, the table is crowded with functional items, but the people who might use them are absent or invisible—as suggested by the use of transparent glass. Subtle references to mourning scattered among the festive items, convey a sense of joy and sorrow mixed together.

Izhar Patkin’s large paper collage Salonière portrays a single-legged tabled arrayed with symbolic Enlightenment-era objects, including a porcelain statuette of a monkey—a reference to a peculiar Prussian law of 1769 that required Jews to purchase porcelain dinner services and figurines in order to obtain official government documents.

In Linen, by the Israeli artists’ collective Studio Armadillo, a ghostly tablecloth is suspended above the ground. Dishes, loaves of hallah, a wine bottle, a kiddush cup, and candlesticks—all formed from starched linen—are sewn to it. The Friday evening ceremony marking the beginning of the Sabbath is evoked as a pause for reflection and rest, separating the practical concerns of daily life from the spiritual moment.