The 8th Biennale for Drawing
a collaboration with the artist Avi Sabah
Curator: Irith Hadar
Jerusalem Artists' House, Jerusalem
Avi Sabah's and Michal Sophia Tobiass's wall installation Abel is based on interpretations of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Sabah's drawings address the land on which the first murder was committed, the blood crying out from the ground, and the victim's last breath (Heb. hevel, as the victim's name). The drawings are set within an image of the star constellation at the time of the murder, which Tobiass maps via a wall drawing and its piercing. The artists deduced the time of the murder, which the Bible only implies, from reading Midrash Tanhuma, where Abel's offering is described as flaxseed, hence, according to the Gezer Calendar (10th century BCE), which describes the agricultural seasonal cycle in biblical times, flax is the first crop to be harvested in the month of Nisan (the first month of the Jewish calendar according to the Torah). Since Jewish law associates the month of Nisan, once every 28 years, with the sun's return to its position at the time of the Creation, Sabah and Tobiass chose to anchor the installation in the celestial constellation on the last date in which, it is believed, the sun returned to the point of Creation: April 8, 2009 at sunset (6:08 PM). The work's cohesion was made possible by a set of assumptions, hypotheses, and selections there from.
Irith Hadar, Left Hanging, in Irith Hadar (ed.) More than One: The eight Biennale for Drawing in Israel, Jerusalem Artists’ House [November 2022] p.242-243