“One and One” was an installation composed of 8 prints and 8 sculptural pieces. The work was inspired by a piece of the Avodah service performed by the high priest on Yom Kippur based on Numbers and later described in Mishna Yoma. The piece details the high priest’s sprinkling of blood above and below:
“He would take the blood [. . .] and sprinkle once upwards and seven times downwards, … And thus would he count: one, one and one, one and two, one and three, one and four, one and five, one and six, one and seven. Then he would go out and put it on the golden stand in the Heikhal.”
Later, Hasidic sources, including the Degel Machane Ephraim and the Tzror Hamor, comment on the original passage in Numbers, and share that the high priest, in sprinkling above and below (or somewhere in between) is performing unifications. Each number he counts materialises one of the sefirot, the celestial divine qualities that the Ein Sof, endless force, flows through. The sefirot exist in a broken, separate state, but through this sprinkling, the high priest brings them back together. One, the “original” sefirah of Bina, the divine mother, is unified with the other upper sefirot of consciousness, and then with each of the seven lower sefirot, bringing the mind into the body.
As the Tzror Hamor writes, “the part is connected to the whole, and all is found in the part.” For this installation, I wanted to challenge the idea of “unity” - if all is found in the part, is there truly a whole? Perhaps unity is best represented by brokenness. Perhaps all oneness is, is a container for the fragments.
The work is composed of tree stumps cut down during the JVS renovations. The colours correspond to an interpretation by Rabbi Zalman Shachter-Shalomi of the sefirot - the white representing Bina and the supernal sefirot, combining with each of the seven lower sefirot depicted in the colours of the rainbow. The prints are printed from the stumps - each stump with an edition number corresponding to the numbers engraved on it, so that one and seven also becomes one of seven (1/7) and so on.