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What can be learned from the map of the stars at the moment when the world was divided into good and bad? | Israel today


As part of the Eighth Drawing Biennale at the Artists' House in Jerusalem, Michal Sophia Tobias and Avi Sabah studied the biblical story of Cain and Abel.

One of the intriguing works in the 8th Drawing Biennale is that of Michal Sophia Tobias and Avi Sabah.

The two chose to focus on the story of Cain and Abel and investigate the first murder in history, but from an angle that the biblical story does not refer to - the angle of time.

And as they delved deeper into the story, the two found themselves drawn into a rabbit hole that introduced them to more and more different interpretations of the story.

In a way, they say, their work is a kind of tro-crime.

A cracking attempt in the style of the popular crime docu-series of the events of that day.

"Actually, we chose to investigate only Abel and not Cain and Abel," Sabah explains.

"Besides this matter of murder within the family, we met around this concept - 'vanity'. On the one hand, the first murdered. On the other hand - in the language there is 'vanity here' or 'vanity vanities', unimportant things. The gap between this terrible and tragic thing that is murder , and the first one that is told and whose generator is jealousy between brothers, and the vanity of vanity - nothing is important, everything is insignificant. Personally, I thought it was a very good subject in Hebrew, to capture it in a painting and see if you manage - or not - to capture these two extremes, which are apparently too far away."

Avi Sabah, photo: Zohar Tal

The work of the two, which presents their research on the subject and their conclusions about it, is presented at the Biennale for the Registration of the Artists' House in Jerusalem.

There, an audience of visitors was exposed, according to the organizers, to "a rich practice of the drawing medium in Israel, on all possible styles, techniques and subjects".

"It was important for me to find the time and ask when this event took place," says Tobias.

"When can we mark this moment that divided the world into two - good and bad. Those that God accepts and those that God does not accept. What is a good offering and what is a bad offering (according to the biblical story, the murder was caused after Abel's offering to God was accepted while this Cain's was not accepted. AP). This place, which before was more holistic, suddenly split into two camps. It was very strange to me that it didn't have a date. Of course I gave it an artistic interpretation, not committed to the Jewish interpretation."

What did you discover in your work process?

"I came to Midrash Tanhuma and it really states that Cain was a farmer who brings flax seeds. There I turned to the Gezer Tablet, which is based on agriculture, and there it says that the flax is pulled from the ground in the month of Nissan. It turns out that in the month of Nissan a very important heavenly event takes place in Judaism, and it happens once every 28 years. The 'Blessing of the Sun' is a moment of great dimensions when the sun returns to where it was at the moment of its creation. And this is the moment when the lights were born. It made me understand what stars were in the sky at the time of the first murder, what made this murder possible."

Michal Sophia Tobias, photo: Gonny Riskin

It is interesting that you decided to investigate the victim, precisely at a time when creators tend to glorify murderers.

"I think there is an interesting story around Abel. In the end, they keep talking about Cain and the letter of Cain, as if they forgot Abel behind. There is a desire here to return to the moment of jealousy, the moment when Abel gave his whole heart and was murdered because of it. And then to 'pierce' the This sky and form a wall made up of all the star systems that shone at that moment. It has something to do with astrology, luck, unlucky."

According to Sabah, "We have no ability to really determine what happened there. Because we are artists and not researchers, we can devote ourselves to what we want and to whatever image we want to provide. No scientific article comes out of this, but a visual event subject to interpretation. But I was amazed that Michal Sophia found the constellation of the stars on the day of the murder. For me, this discovery has an almost forensic, detective quality, in the face of this evidence."

The registration biennial will close on February 25.

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Source: israelhayom

All life articles on 2023-02-07

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