Achtung GOLEM!

Objekts on a table and a sign "Achtung Objekt"

Golem Costume for Death, Destruction, and Detroit II at the Schaubühne Berlin, 1987. Directed by Robert Wilson; Lender: The Jewish Museum, New York

The Golem is brought to life from inanimate material, as is the exhibition we are dedicating to him. Up until the opening on September 22, many days will be spent building, painting, felting, typesetting, printing, writing, cutting, hanging and pouring. For the celebratory opening, we have invited as our special guest, a robot who will greet the public.

Two humanoide robots greet each other

REEM and REEM C at a Meet-and-Greet © PAL Robotics, Barcelona

A piece of paper with handwriting in German and Hebrew

© Scholem Archives, The Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem, Israel

But up until that moment, there is still a lot to be done. All of the objects and works of art have already arrived in Berlin. For example, the smallest item (14.5 x 11 cm), which is roughly the size of a post-it. On this piece of paper, Gershom Scholem (1897–1982), the scholar of Jewish mysticism, noted the beginning of the so-called “Golem Recipe,” which he had discovered in a medieval manuscript during his research at Oxford.

A sculpture made of light bulbs

Construction and installation of My Light is Your Life © Krištof Kintera

Or the giant light-golem (470 x 450 cm) made by Prague artist Krištof Kintera. The sculpture is entitled My Light is Your Life and will be constructed in the next few days from numerous lamps, light fixtures, and cables.

It took a whole team to bring Michael David’s Golem from New York to the walls of our exhibition: six art installers together with two paintings conservators were required to accomplish this difficult task.

Three man start to move a huge piece of art

Crating of Michael David’s A Cluster of Blessings © Michael David

The work that will travel the greatest distance is the sculpture El bañista, which is coming from a private collection in Mexico. Made of bronze by surrealist artist Leonara Carrington, it shows Rabbi Loew, the maker of the golem, sitting in a bathtub. Having completed his work, the Rabbi reflects upon his creation of artificial life.

A bathing man with a hat

Leonora Carrington, El bañista, Bronze, 2010 © Francisco Kochen

Poster for the exhibition GOLEM, 23.9.2016–29.1.2017

Poster campaign; Jewish Museum Berlin/Cee Cee Creative

After the opening, at the latest, the exhibition will take on a life of its own, and thus become a kind of golem. We are confident that this golem—in contrast to its relatives—will remain peaceful. We hope that it will attract many interested visitors to the Jewish Museum.

Emily D. Bilski and Martina Lüdicke are bringing the Golem to life in the temporary exhibition galleries of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

Further information on the exhibition GOLEM and on the topic golem on our website.

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