The Baker’s Brand
Curator: Suisa Albert
15 Mar — 24 May, 2014
The series of baker brands of painter Motta Brim is rooted in the tradition of challah baking for the Sabbath, as the baking sheets serve as a bed for these highly expressive challah stamps. Using the challah dough and beaten egg, Brim creates rich, symbolic and abstract images, as in a one-off, unique and inimitable print. The repeated bakes on the same sheet create a palimpsest of images, spaces and heavens, endowing Brim’s work with the quality of an aquarelle.
And so, the domestic baking oven becomes a memory machine: with the carefully planned treatment of the dough, the traces of challah pay tribute to ancient Jewish traditions related to alms giving and taxes on field crops and baked goods. Religious laws of giving the forgotten sheaf to the poor are revisited in light of universal, psychological and social ideas.
The works are also emotional auto-portraits that tell the story of the inner world of a Hassid who has been diapering his children and baking challah for many years. They serve him to break through boundaries of gender and art, and to broaden their symbolic horizons. Brim draws links between different worlds using an intimate traditional practice, and has their calm, Sabbath-like inner light shine through.
This is also the showbread of priestly ritual (literally in Hebrew – “face bread”), expressing the heart’s wish for mutual commitment. Served to us from a personal “little Tabernacle,” in its generous and attentive way to the Other it also braves through the way of Eros. The sharp contrast between religion and art is permitted to make an authentic expression, as well as a surprising, intimate and modest turn, which is open as much as it is liberating. The traditional practice allows Brim to separate wheat from chaff, so to speak, in both matter and spirit, unearthing reconstructive and constructive riches that would not have been accessible otherwise. As in the benediction over the bread, “Blessed is our God …. Who brings forth bread from the earth,” which creates a bond between the active and the passive, “bread” and “earth,” The Baker’s Brand seeks to commemorate the bond between the artist, all flesh, and the world, a bond entailing responsibility, gracefulness and charity.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue
Additional opening with Motta Brim: Wed. 19.3.14 at 5 pm