Our major exhibition about the best-known figure in Jewish folklore, the golem, tells a story that has inspired generations of artists, filmmakers, and writers. The exhibition presents the golem, a man-made being endowed with superhuman powers, in its many forms: from its appearances in early Jewish mystical texts to its various manifestations in popular culture.
Central to the golem legend is the human desire to create, together with a range of themes including creativity, control, power, and salvation.
The exhibition demonstrates the thematic richness of the material, as is apparent from medieval manuscripts, many-layered narratives, and works of art from the last two hundred years.
The golem symbolizes each era's dreaded dangers and hopes for redemption. The exhibition uses the golem figure to examine topics like creativity, creation, power, and redemption.
What is a golem?
Golem, a creature formed out of a lifeless substance that is brought to life by ritual incantations and sequences of Hebrew letters, origin in medieval Jewish mystics
Whether in painting, sculpture, object art, video, installation art, photography, or illustration, the golem is very much alive and, with it, the question of what it means to be human.
In this catalog, experts from a variety of disciplines describe their associations with the objects in the exhibition. The volume is completed with excerpts from literary texts that have shaped the image of this legendary figure.
The catalogue is published by the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld. Its print version is German only, but several texts can be read on our website.
- Introduction: The Golem in Berlin by Peter Schäfer
- Chapter 1: The Golem Lives On by Martina Lüdicke
- My Light is Your Life by Anna Dorothea Ludewig
- Avatars by Louisa Hall
- The Secret of the Cyborgs by Caspar Battegay
- Chapter 2: Jewish Mysticism by Emily D. Bilski
- Golem Magic by Martina Lüdicke
- Golem, Language, Dada by Emily D. Bilski
- Chapter 3: Transformation by Emily D. Bilski
- Jana Sterbak's Golem: Objects as Sensations by Rita Kersting
- Crisálidas (Chrysalises) by Jorge Gil
- Rituals by Christopher Lyon
- A Golem that Ended Well by Emily D. Bilski
- On the Golem by David Musgrave
- Louise Fishman’s Paint Golem by Emily D. Bilski
- Chapter 4: Legendary Prague by Martina Lüdicke
- Golem Variations by Peter Schäfer
- Rabbi Loew’s Well-Deserved Bath by Harold Gabriel Weisz Carrington
- Chapter 5: Horror and Magic by Martina Lüdicke
- Golem and a Little Girl by Helene Wecker
- The Golem with a Group of Children Dancing by Karin Harrasser
- Bringing the Film Set To Life by Anna-Carolin Augustin
- Golem and Mirjam by Cathy S. Gelbin
- Chapter 6: Out of Control by Emily D. Bilski
- Golem—Man Awakened with Glowing Hammer by Arno Pařík
- Dangerous Symbols by Charlotta Kotik
- Be Careful What You Wish For by Marc Estrin
- Chapter 7: Doppelgänger by Martina Lüdicke
- From the Golem-Talmud by Joshua Cohen
- Kitaj’s Art Golem by Tracy Bartley
- The Golem as Techno-Imagination? by Cosima Wagner
Jüdisches Museum Berlin/Jewish Museum Berlin (2016), Golem. Selected Texts From Our Catalog.
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The Golem in Berlin
by Peter Schäfer
The Golem Lives On
With Texts by Martina Lüdicke, Anna-Dorothea Ludewig, Louisa Hall and Caspar Battegay
With Texts by Emily D. Bilski and Martina Lüdicke
With Texts by Emily D. Bilski, Christopher Lyon, Rita Kersting, Jorge Gil and David Musgrave
With Texts by Martina Lüdicke, Peter Schäfer, and Harold Gabriel Weisz Carrington
Horror and Magic
With Texts by Martina Lüdicke, Karin Harrasser, Cathy S. Gelbin, Helene Wecker and Anna Augustin
Out of Control
With Texts by Emily D. Bilski, Arno Pařík, Marc Estrin and Charlotta Kotik
With Texts by Joshua Cohen, Tracy Bartley, Cosima Wagner