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About the Process

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah – “Slow reading”, “Slow creation”, “Slow seeing”

The tale of Sodom and Gomorrah, from a derived THEN, has been embedded in diverse Western culture and its monotheistic religions for thousands of years. It resonates in the social and cultural discourses in our Here and Now worlds. This Biblical tale, traditionally transmitted as an “open” story, is multidimensional with a great deal of impenetrable information. Lesser levels and qualities of understanding exist about its associated sin and taboo behaviors.

During the last three years the artist Yehuda Levy-Aldema has been studying, interpreting, and creating a series of artworks based upon the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Traditional Jewish interpretations of the Midrash, the Aggadah, medieval commentators, commentators, and Christian texts have often referred to this relatively brief Biblical story. As have a range of artists over time. Levy -Aldema’s creations add new bricks to these commentaries.

The text was divided into five passages: Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels, Lot, God, and Lot’s daughters. The story is presented through “skeletal,” unidimensional characters, devoid of feelings. The study leads to the deconstruction of the text, and each of the associated and derived themes, to its basic component — the WORD. Deconstruction makes it possible to create, ask and explore questions about subjects that we may, at times, or more generally, refrain from confronting, such us: God, righteousness and evil, sin / punishment; incest, justice and law.

The art-work’s creative processes evolved by connecting with the Slow Movement, which advocates slowing down the pace of life. In a world of uncertainty, whose rate of change is so rapid, there is need to slow down and articulate content and meanings within and to the basic components of our existence. The work done in the “Slow Creation” process relates to multidimensional vision during exploring and understanding ongoing uncertainties.

The learning made by a “Chavruta” and “The Visual Beit Midrash”, during this process is an integral part of the creative process.  Ongoing study is conducted weekly in Israel and around the world, in a multi-cultural and multi-religious discourse.

This process will lead to the creation of 77 art works that track linearly after the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.   There are currently 36 art works; the others   exist in the “slow” creation process. The largest group of 36 works relates to the events in the cave. In addition to the more traditional reading of occurring incest a possibility exists that this is a story about rape within the family.

The art works are sculptures. They combine a wide range of materials and techniques, using everyday found objects. The Neo-Baroque style empowers the visual commentary.  Understanding the works requires a constant dialogue between the name of the work, the text, the visual elements, their symbolic meanings-implications and the story.

Through Levy-Aldema’s works, three innovations can be discerned:

  1. Visual commentary” – the role of the Biblical story’s written commentary as a stimulus/motif for the creation of the art work. The visual interpretation builds the meanings of the story from the deconstruction of the text and the relevant word. This course will bring into the story content related to the traumas and feelings that arise from, and are associated with, “here and now.”
  2. “Visual Beit Midrash”– Participation in an event that combines study and art creation allows participants to connect with democratic dialogues about these all-too-often censored, topics.
  3. “Slow creation”– belonging to the “slow movement,” and “slow creation,” leads to   a renewal of developing in the emotional and creative spheres of life. This process can stimulate and create sustainable change in social consciousness, while providing tools for dealing with situations of uncertainty.

The synthesis of all of these aspects creates a breakthrough for a newly created visual language. It links the visitor, as participant, to a discourse about the meanings and implications of the text and its visual interpretations in worlds of uncertainty and unpredictabilities.

To Sodom and Gomorrah page

To Sodom and Gomorrah Artworks