San Francisco, CA
Dr. Elana Stein Hain of the Shalom Hartman Institute points out that Genesis begins with chaos that is made into order. The world is a never-ending cycle of chaos followed by order falling into chaos, repeating forever. Dr. Hane points out other paired states that can be considered in the same way: meaning and meaninglessness, stagnation and generation, weakness and strength. In his work Negev Wheel, Bay Area artist Ned Kahn explores these metaphors by reenacting the historical drama of tumbling desert sand, contained inside a circular spinning wheel. If a grain of sand is the vulnerable individual, a mountain of sand can have tremendous aggregate power. Thus in the context of The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Kahn’s work raises essential Jewish questions about building a reality of meaning, community, and generation. (...)
Ned Kahn (b. 1960, Connecticut) is an environmental artist and sculptor who creates installation works that explore, mimic, and play with forces and phenomena found in nature. Kahn’s artworks, at the intersection of art and science, invite audiences to immerse themselves into natural elements such as tornadoes, fog, clouds, and wind currents – or turbulences, as he calls them. A Bay Area resident for over twenty years, his hybrid work, as a synthesis of nature, art, and technology, makes the invisible forces of nature suddenly visible to the viewers’ eyes. (...)
Kahn says of the project that, “For Negev Wheel I’ll be using sand from the desert in Israel, which is a complex mixture of sands blown by the wind for centuries from all over the region. The idea is to take a piece of the desert, frame it in a circular enclosure, subject it to elemental forces (rotation and gravity), and then let it express its nature,” a complexity within unity and constant evolution within permanence. In the context of a Jewish museum, the work is a poetic reminder of a culture’s survival and evolution through the changes and turmoil of history.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website