Tobi Kahn's "Embodied Light: 9-11 in 2011

“Embodied Light: 9-11 in 2011”. An installation by Tobi Kahn

Ernest Rubenstein Gallery
197 East Broadway between Jefferson and Clinton Streets
New York, NY 10002

Dates of exhibit: September 9–November 23, 2011 

Gallery Hours:   Monday–Thursday, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday–
Sunday, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm               
F train to East Broadway; MTA buses: M9, M15, M22

                   A commemorative exhibit of September 11, 2011. The gallery will be transformed into a meditative room for visitors to reflect on remembrance, loss and the human spirit.   Sculptural shrines, memorial candle holders and a floor relief will reference both the specific tragedy of 9/11/01 and a universal reflection on loss, remembrance and hope.  Kahn is creating a sacred space consisting of seven shrines, each encompassing an abstract figure, bracketed in solitude by an architectural structure; seven sculpted memorial lights, and two charity boxes made of the plaques like those engraved in chapels with the names of the dead—but blank in ceaseless grief.
In the center of the gallery will be a floor relief comprised of thousands of wood remnants from art Kahn made in the decade since 9-11. From above, their overlapping shapes and the patterns they form of refracted light suggest an aerial view of the city’s density, loss, and sustenance. Memory blocks, for the 220 floors in the two towers, were given by hand, ceremonially, to New Yorkers chosen by the artist in spring 2011, and then returned to him with a drawing or inscription that evokes their memory of the day. In changing patterns, obscuring and bringing to light distinct memories, the blocks will be continually rearranged over the length of the exhibition.
                    The accompanying catalogue will have essays by Maya Benton, Curator at International Center of Photography, Norman Kleeblatt, chief curator at The Jewish Museum and by James E. Young, author of At Memory's Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, and The Texture of Memory. LMCC appointed him as a juror for the World Trade Center Site Memorial competition.
             “Kahn has created art for hospices, hospitals and memorial chapels, ranging from a single canvas to an entire room for meditation. The Health Care Chaplaincy has selected Kahn as the principal artist for a 120-unit palliative care residence to be built in Lower Manhattan.” The New York Times 1/4/11.

According to the art critic Dore Ashton, Tobi Kahn's art "unites our perception of the material with our memory." This is only fitting for a man whose Jewish heritage permeates all aspects of his work. Whether in his mysterious paintings, reminiscent of biological and geographical formations, or in his sculptures of sanctuaries and sacred monumental pieces, or in the design of furniture and ambient space for a hospital meditation room, Kahn's work draws us into meditation. Kahn's art causes us to dip into the "deep wells within us where longing and memory intermingle."

The Philadelphia Inquirer calls his work "perfectly balanced between extremes of abstract and representational.... having an uneasy mixture of authority and idiosyncrasy—and sometimes just a bit beyond human reach."
The exhibit and catalogue are made possible by support of United Jewish Federation  

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