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Wrestling with Leviticus 18:22

Abomination: Wrestling with Leviticus 18:22, is an artistic installation produced by Trix Rosen and Susan Kaplow. The work explores the damage done by the biblical passage, “Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination,” and its homophobic legacy. The first to wrestle with the meaning of this verse were the early Rabbis and the text reproduced here is the Talmud page where their commentary is recorded.

“When artist, Susan Kaplow, came to me in March, 2012 with her idea about doing a collaborative installation about the Talmud page, Leviticus 18:22, I was very intrigued. Because this abhorrence of her lesbian sexuality made Susan feel “dead,” she had the Talmud text printed on fabric like that used in the traditional Jewish burial ritual, and then hand-sewed the cloth into shrouds.

I didn’t have the same feelings about the Talmud text, but acknowledged the importance of refuting these words.

The first photography session took place at Kaplow’s studio. While photographing Susan dressed in the shrouds, I was looking to find an iconic, universal image for what the Talmud words could mean to me. I sought to find a figure that could be abstract enough to allow the viewers to imagine their own story to go along with the graphic text. I digitally painted the background so that the figure would appear to be floating in space.

We discussed our project further when Susan next came to my studio. We talked about taking a positive action to retire the garments. We decided that placing the garments in a geniza, a traditional storage space for damaged or worn-out sacred books, would be a respectful way to retire the garments based on Jewish lore. Susan later located a chest for that purpose.

For the second image, I imagined that the figure should look like it was placed into a deep hole or inside a cave. I stood above Susan as I photographed her. I wanted the text on the garments to disappear from our consciousness and for the figure wearing the shrouds to feel like it was about to be buried. I altered the skin-tones to appear like white marble, with the hope that the word ‘abomination’ will no longer cause pain and suffering to those that have suffered it’s centuries-old curse.

*http://www.susankaplow.com/

NashimNASHIM. A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, Spring-Fall 5772-3/2012. Number 23. Published by: Indiana University Press
THE JEWISH WOMEN AND HER BODY.
COVER PHOTOGRAPH by Trix Rosen from the Installation: Abomination: Wrestling with Leviticus 18:22 by Susan Kaplow and Trix Rosen.

Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues provides an international, interdisciplinary academic forum the only one of its kind for the innovative work being done in the many areas of research that comprise the field of Jewish women's and gender studies.

PORTFOLIO
HE-SHE
   - FEMME FATALE

THE LADIES ROOM
   - MAITRESSE
   - THE BABE DEN
   - 100% PURE HEROINE
   - STRONG & SEXY
   - CHANGED LANDSCAPES

THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL

LIGHT DRAWINGS

WHITE LACE

DIVINE LIGHT
   - Jewish Women of the Bible
   - The Tefillin Project
   - Two Generations X Seven
       Emotions
   - HOME
   - Shabbat Prayers
   - songs of the land
   - Garments-of-Light
   - embodied light
    - divine dahlias
   - DANCE TO THE MUSIC
   - wrestling with leviticus 18:22
   - Hallelujah

BET HAYYIM

URBAN ARCHEOLOGY & MODERN RUINS

THE WORLD OF DOLLS

 

EXHIBITIONS


Reviews from Tulsa OK

The Sexuality Spectrum
December 13, 2013 - March 20 2014
The Sherwin Miller Museum, Tulsa OK

Sept 6, 2012 - June 28, 2013
Hebrew Union College-JIR Museum
One West Fourth Street, New York NY
Abomination: Wrestling with Leviticus 18:22 – Installation


Title: Wrestling with Leviticus #2
Artist: Trix Rosen
Year Completed: 2012
Dimensions: 34 x 24 inches
Medium: 100% Fiber Cotton Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks
Spot mounted on black plexiglass - 36 x 26 inches

Title: Wrestling with Leviticus #3, 2012
Artist: Trix Rosen
Year Completed: 2012
Dimensions: 34 x 24 inches
Medium: 100% Fiber Cotton Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks
Spot mounted on black plexiglass - 36 x 26 inches

Title: Talmud Page, (Sanhedrin 54b) commenting on Leviticus 18:22
Artist: Susan Kaplow
Year Completed: 2012
Dimensions: 34 x 47.5 inches
Medium: 100% Fiber Cotton Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks,
Earth from the Mt. of Olives applied over Hebrew word “abomination” (toayva)
Spot mounted on black plexiglass - 36 x 49.5 inches

Title: Abomination: Wrestling with Leviticus 18:22 – Installation
Artists: Susan Kaplow & Trix Rosen
Year Completed: 2012

 


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