Global Edition of the NY Times Highlights Western Art

August 22nd, 2013

I’m reading Ha’aretz, the Israeli version of this publication that that keeps me up to date in my travels outside the USA. Leg swelling and fatigue (from CFIDS and other conditions), brought me back to the quietest area in Israel called Judea (see my earlier post on Masada). This edition reprinted an article from the New York Times about Franz West, the late Austrian sculptor who spoke through an unusual array of works like furniture, presently on exhibit in a Frankfurt museum. The furniture work was done in the ’80s and the German retrospective is interestingly named, “Where is my Eight?”

In my travels, I’ve been introduced to various ‘codes’ from fringe elements that I’d never heard of while working the typical 60 hour workweek of a USA resident. Broken down, the number ‘eight’ represents the following terms as explained to me by those likely looked upon as crackpots and simpletons by the mainstream:

E = Elijah, an invisible, ‘behind the scenes’ power
I = Independent
G = Government
H = Heritage, the individual government of a particular area that is a true representation of it or the permitted expression of individuality by that shadowy, Elijah figure
T = Transitional generation, opposing, changing or emigrating from oppression. T is described as the children of treasured survivors of tragic world events, like those who emerged from the holocaust, of prime interest in the Israeli arts. The ‘T’ may become representative of a return to obedience to an oppressive Elijah power or a renewal of independence for a people at home in their own land. It is among free nations that people await the arrival of a future ‘Elijah’ holding out the promise of independence and mutual regard between all people.

Yes, this is indeed an odd alphabet. Pieces of ‘eight’ is a phrase reserved for gold coins, the most sought after treasure by pirates of old and by modern undersea explorers. While money is generally the most powerful ‘motive’ for crime , the greatest ‘motive power’ in the world is represented by the train and the airplane. As many of those from past eras rust away, we recall that true ‘motive power’ is not simply the engines that run these inventions but the minds that design them, the hands that build them and the improvements made upon them from one generation to the next. The freedom to build is also a ‘motive’ for life or a ‘raison d’etre’.

It is here in the Middle East that people gave birth to the idea of a positive invisible ‘Elijah’, and passed it down in song and deed (the empty place setting at the Seder table). It is in my travels that I heard of evil Elijah powers and here in Judea, that this story caught my eye. My interest in art and sculpture has risen markedly during my travels so I wanted to share this with my readers and thank those ‘fringe people’ for their flights of the imagination shared by many artists over the years.

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