At the Threshold

Shelah Lekha By :  The Jewish Theological Seminary Posted On Jul 1, 2016 / 5776 | דבר אחר | A Different Perspective

Silvio Wolf, Double Doors (2015–2016)
UV ink-jet printed films applied over glass windows and doors

In this week’s parashah, the Israelites stand at the boundary of the Land of Israel—with all its potential for religious and national destiny and for physical danger—considering whether or not to enter. During the spring 2016 semester, JTS’s own entrance was the location of an art installation by Silvio Wolf, who uses moving images, still projections, light, and sound to engage the history and symbolism of specific venues.

Double Doors invited viewers into the threshold between nature and culture. Motivated by the renovation of The JTS Library, Wolf lined the doors and windows of the Green Family Entryway with translucent imagery referencing the “missing” Library stacks. Intertwined with interpretive elements alluding to the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, these images invited the viewer to contemplate the relationship between tradition and the free will that accompanies the acquisition of knowledge.

Experienced most intimately in the vestibule between the glass doors opening onto Broadway, this site-specific installation created a high-tech stained-glass effect. As natural light transitioned to artificial and day passed into night, Double Doors transformed the facade and entrance of JTS into a participatory space of meditation amid the everyday activities of public life.

Double Doors was part of Traversing Tradition: Transformation in and of Contemporary Jewish Life, the fourth visual arts exhibition in the JTS Arts Advisory Board’s ongoing initiative to create and sustain arts programming at JTS, and was made possible with the generous support of Duggal.