Every Interaction Interrupts the Future. Kim Lieberman, 2002-2003 5763.
Postage stamp paper, oil paint, silk thread
South African artist Kim Lieberman (1969- ) incorporates gematria into a body of work that integrates the traditions of mail art, abstract painting, and needlework. Lieberman stitches thread through the matrix of perforated holes in postage stamp paper. By employing a handicraft associated with women, Lieberman feminizes the square grid championed by Malevich, Mondrian, and other male modern artists. Threading becomes a meditative act and a tool to explore hidden patterns and the interconnectedness of human action.
Kim Lieberman working
The artist acknowledges the influence of gematria on her work: “…I draw on specific numbers that have weight and meaning in a Kabbalistic context and in a personal context. For example I have been aware of the number 26 as it is the date of my birth. It also has significance in the Kabbalistic world as the letters in hashem, YHVH, add up to 26. This number is brought into Blood Relatives (2000/5759-5760) coincidentally. The red silk thread used is colour no. 26. I realised this in the Jewish year 5759 (=26) whilst walking along W. 26th Street in New York. The other number that is encouraged through my work is 18, chai – which means life. It is a traditional custom in Judaism when giving tzadakah, or charity, to give it in multiples of 18. I have watched for this multiplication in my work and it has appeared – 18+18=36, each stamp square that I have sewn has 36 lines of thread. This forms into different concepts in the various works – for example, in Blood Relatives 18 and 18 can be seen as two lives, two lives make up more life, and hence more blood relatives…” (Kim Lieberman, p. 26)
Lieberman, Kim. Blood Relatives/Kim Lieberman. Johannesburg: Camouflage Art.Culture.Politics, 2000.
Lieberman, Kim. Every Interaction Interrupts the Future. Johannesburg: The Goodman Gallery, 2003.
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