22/05/2012 Community Rule. Text as World


I was researching into the material for my latest painting Qumran when I noticed this image among other remnants of Dead Sea scrolls from a cave at Qumran, Israel. For some reason my first impression was that this particular image was of some sort of a map (you can almost ’see’ shapes of Africa, India and Australia in that picture). Later on I have decided to base my new painting on the image, history and content of that scroll. The scroll contains a part of Community Rule text – the set of regulations ordering the life of the members of “Yahad” – (direct English translation will be “Together” or “Togetherness”) – the group within the Judean Desert sect who chose to live communally and whose members accepted strict rules of conduct.

Seeing text or its remnants as world was an appealing idea to me – not as opposed to “World as Text” but as another alternative. Besides, viewed as a seminal text to a certain extent – it does contain a world, or a world of promise, developments, and possibilities for future generations. Taken in its metaphorical capacity it triggered my imagination -  and I framed the altered image as a ‘world’ and am intending to present it as a ‘map’ of parchment with the mark-making characteristic of the other paintings within this thesis project. I am still working on this painting, studying the specificity of the script or font – even it is still readable in modern Hebrew of today that I know, there are differences. I want to learn these differences to be able to write the text into the painting as close to the original as possible.  One thing is already certain: the text will be written in oil – somehow for me it represents the most human way medium – with all its flaws, irregularities, and fragility.

The word “Yahad” – ‘togetherness’- correlates with the title of my thesis paper: Constructing a Place of Belonging. Finding or re-establishing this sense of belonging is probably, the most important task for every immigrant or re-located person.

This is the work in progress, the painting with the Hebrew text still to be added:

Community, 05/2012, synthetic polymer, gouache, and oil on canvas, 60″x120″

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