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Tina B

Tina B. Festival, Prague, 2012

'Truth and the Golem of Prague'

The National Library, Klementinum, Prague

Varda Carmeli displays in her work the photograph of a figure facing a fiery flame. The figure and the burning flame are thrice displayed from different angles united by the three letters א מ ת in the Hebrew alphabet, which combine them into one work with a single significance.

Fire is a multi-connotation mystic element. There are those who define it as one of the four elements of creation and existence (earth, air, water and fire). In diverse cultures where fire served to sacrifice victims, the rising smoke seemingly created a magical communication with the god being appeased. In numerous faiths, fire signifies the Holy Spirit and at the same time also Hell. Fire is the source of both energy and life but could also become the cause of discontinuing life, of burning it, and of creating cessation and extinction. To control fire is a challenge for man, like any other challenge to overcome the forces of nature whose reality and power cannot be held in doubt.

The combination of the letters א מ ת in the Hebrew language signify the word אמת (emet, truth), a pictorial verbal representation accorded by man to an infinitely mighty conceptual expression. When the concept materializes in the hands of man one can play around with it; thus when in Hebrew the letter א is erased, only the letters מ ת remain, the combination of which signifies the word מת (met, dead).

According to tradition, the Golem of Prague was created out of a mass of inanimate matter in the image of man with the letters א מ ת blazing forth on its forehead. Inserting a parchment inscribed with the Tetragrammaton into its mouth brought it to life. This breath of life could be extinguished by erasing the letter א from א מ ת and creating the word מת (dead).

The photographed figure in Carmeli's work is that of the artist shot while he was engaged in a live presentation in the Vernon Gallery during the exhibition titled 'GOLEM Metamorphosis.'[1] The man was caught in the creative act, at the moment of bringing the fire under control, and his image exhibited in the work blends with the fire into a single entity.

In her work Varda Carmeli couples 'fire' with 'truth' through contemporary artistic creativity and the Golem legend.

* A photograph of the presentation by the artist Israel Rabinowitz at the opening of the exhibition titled 'GOLEM Metamorphosis' in the Vernon Gallery, Prague, on 29.5.2012.

* GOLEM ETAMORPHOSIS. Curatur: Doron Polak (Israel) Projective - Artura Artists Museum