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Israel Hadani
Creation's Details
Title: Water Altar
Year: 2001
Dimensions: 9x47x70 cm.
Material: Basalt stone and water



Many questions arose when I considered the topic of the competition:
Can sanctity be limited? Is there a line that sets the limits, where sanctity is to be found on only one side of the border? Can sanctity be defined or fenced in?
It is difficult to think of sanctity in terms of borders. What are the “borders” of the Divine Presence that hovers over the Tabernacle? Over Jerusalem? Does the sanctity of the Sabbath terminate with the end of the Sabbath? Does holiness not resonate beyond time and space? I thought about it, and I understood with increasing clarity that I could not be involved with “borders” of sanctity but to attempt to clarify for myself, in my creative work, what sanctity is and how it is possible to touch it, if at all, through artistic expression.
Ritual objects and prayers also differentiate between the sacred and the secular and they constitute one way of passing through the parameters of “sacred-secular” to the inner sanctum where one unites with oneself and with one’s Creator, to a place where sanctity exists as an essence and not as a symbol.
As an artist, I try to reach this level by means of form and material. The questions I asked myself in my work was how it is possible to touch the inner sanctum, and can one present the experience of discovery without the need for banal effects and symbols? How do you reach a level of abstraction that retains the ability to connect? How do you, in this context, create a new symbolism that relies on, and is inspired by, Jewish tradition?
I chose the symbols of “the altar” and “water”.
Altar – an ancient “tool” through which man connected with God when offering sacrifices and seeking penance.
Water – a symbol of inner gathering and purity.
“Water Altar” is a basalt altar with a body of water in its center.
The basalt stone connects the structure to the archaic and as it is volcanic material, to the center of the earth.
Water connects the structure to a mikveh (purification bath), and as water reflects light – to the sky itself.
“Water Altar” is a material symbol that represents the connection of heaven and earth. It is an expression of giving and taking, that creates within the observer an inner feeling of harmony and wholeness and brings him to a meditative state in which he may, perhaps, be able to touch the holy sanctum.



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