Friday, May 05, 2006

Candle Cup

Photos courtesy of Bill Finley who wrote to me the following:

We have developed a number of designs over the years and felt that if we were going to do a cross we should have designs for other religions as well so we started doing the Star of David and then added the Menorah to our designs.

Komar and Melamid

The Star of David is a shape, which means that it's visual more than verbal, which means that it's more plausible to find it in galleries than in scholars' books. This line of thinking led me to a "treasure" of sixty drawings and four large oil paintings made by dissident Russian-born artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, exploring universal ancient symbols like yin and yang, the swastika, the serpent Ouroboros, spirals Kabbalistic spheres, and…the Star of David!
Richard McBee published on January 14, 2003 a long article in The Jewish Press about these postmodern provocative artists who made an exhibition titled "Symbols of the Big Bang" at the Yeshiva University Museum, New York. On the webpage of this article I saw four of Komar and Melamid most inventive works:
1. A drawing of a bird in the shape of a Star of David. The bird holds an olive branch. Around the bird there's an Ouroboros, a snake eating its tail.
2. Oil on canvas – a skull in the shape of a Star of David above it an hourglass, above it a clown's hat.
3. A drawing of a combined blue swastika and a yellow Star of David in front of a stone globe.
4. A drawing of a combined black swastika and a Star of David on a red circle.
I read another review by Donald Goddard who wrote about his deep reactions to the works:
Donald Goddard noted that Stars of David appeared in an earlier work of Komar and Melamid – the biographical series of 1972-7
Komar encourages viewers to experience the mystical healing power of the Star of David
Combining the swastika with the Star of David is provocative - but the fact that the artists are Jews (In 1977 they immigrated to Israel and from there to the United States) and that the exhibition took place in a Jewish museum enabled putting politics aside and concentrating on the universal meaning of these ancient symbols - the struggle between good and evil.