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An Installation in 15 Rooms by Saskia Boddeke & Peter Greenaway

Trailer for the installation "Obedience" - extended until 15 November 2015! © Jewish Museum Berlin

The story of forefather Abraham, who is willing to obey God's command and sacrifice his son, is one of the most puzzling passages of the Bible. In the three monotheistic religions, it is among the most significant and most popular stories and among the first that were ever depicted. The text that is handed down in Judaism as the "Binding of Isaac" to this day still raises questions that are answered differently by the three religions.


22 May - 13 September 2015, extended until 15 November 2015


Old Building, first level


with the museum ticket (8 euros, reduced 3 euros)

British film director Peter Greenaway and multimedia artist Saskia Boddeke understand the sacrifice of Isaac as a human drama. Which is stronger – God's command or the love of a father? And where can the modern subject be found between the priorities of obedience and trust?

Taking these questions as their starting point, Boddeke and Greenaway have developed a coherent artistic scenario that approaches the biblical narrative subjectively, deconstructs it, and refocuses the constituent parts to create an emotionally tangible scenario.

Dance scene from Club Guy & Roni in the installation "Obedience"© © Luperpedia Foundation

The result is a multimedia exhibition – using film projections, installations, precious objects, and its own soundtrack, the biblical narrative is staged as a sensuous and emotional showpiece in fifteen parts. Its dramaturgy is inspired by the legends of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, and linked with the experience of our time.

Cover of the accompanying book for the installation

Cover of the accompanying book for the installation
Jewish Museum Berlin

The stories told in the exhibition about Abraham, Isaac, and Ismael are illustrated and expanded upon in a colorful art book with accompanying text. The book contains contributions by Omri Boehm, Helmut Hoping, Margret Kampmeyer, Cilly Kugelmann, Jon D. Levenson, Angelika Neuwirth, and Ed Noort and is published by Kerber Publishers Bielefeld / Berlin.

The introduction by Margret Kampmeyer and Cilly Kugelmann, offered here as a PDF Download, provides an impression of the art book as well as an insight into the biblical narrative.

"I'm Isaac"
A taste of the exhibition in pictures
A room with one wall full of written sentences and the other showing a video installation with different faces

"Obedience" starts with the Video Installation "I am Isaac / I am Ishmael"
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Yves Sucksdorff

A white room displaying different art objects while the walls are covered with feathers

View into the White Room "God and the Angel"
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Yves Sucksdorff

A red painted room with a video projection at one wall showing two women

The room »Sarah und Hagar« is dedicated to the two mothers.
© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Yves Sucksdorff

A video projection of a ram in the background behind the art object "Black Sheep with Golden Horns"  by Damien Hirst

The "Room of the Ram" with Damien Hirsts' "Black Sheep with Golden Horns" (2009)
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Yves Sucksdorff

A white room where ropes and belts hang from the ceiling

The room "The Binding" refers to the so-called Binding of Isaac.
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Yves Sucksdorff

The room "The Binding" refers to the so-called Binding of Isaac.
© Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Yves Sucksdorff

The exhibition has an accompanying program:
Monday Movies
Symposium "Kill Me a Son!"
Program for School Students and Teachers

During the installation running time, discussions on the special exhibition will be held every Sunday at 2 pm. In addition, discussions for individual groups can be booked. For further information, please consult the following PDF file.

Long Museum Night on 29 August 2015: Imams, rabbis, and pastors discuss the roles of angels, devils, and sheep in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam on a stroll through the exhibition "Obedience." (Duration: 30 minutes)

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