The Birth of the Sacred Animals
Curator: Israel Maya
9 Oct — 11 December, 2021
The story of the birth of the sacred animals in the book of Ezekiel tells of a vision, in which a chariot carrying the divine presence is revealed to the prophet. The chariot is borne by fantastic creatures, which are a cross between a human being, animals (lion, ox, and eagle), and cherubs. Creation, hybridization, and hybrids are the ideas underlying Moshe Ripner’s ink and water works.
Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. […] And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.
– Ezekiel 1: 5-19
The artist earns his living as a construction worker. His artistic work is carried out quickly, during breaks at the building site or spells of insomnia in the wee hours of the night. The whiteness of the paper shines in dark work environments, lending it an embryonic appearance; an abstract stain, seeking meaning in a rapid process of absorption. While working, the brush replaces the hammer; the ink and water seep into the building blocks; the delicate defeats the solid. This process of absorption reveals the water stains, striving to expose something elusive and distorted originating in the worlds in which the artist is immersed. The ink appears to have been spontaneously applied to the paper or scratched, using a sharp tool.
This friction between the outside world and the artist’s inner world transpires between the painter’s tools and the laborer’s changing work environment, between the soft and the hard substances. These provide Ripner with a living channel for the emergence of images that resonate with mythological figures, impressions that link excerpts from sacred and secular narratives, Hasidic tales, legends, and sages’ literature alongside literary influences from his childhood—English and Germanic tales. Thus, like the hybrid animals God created to carry His chariot, Ripner aspires to create a new world through the stain drawings.