Forty

 

“…As it offers an unmediated encounter with the irrational, the desert is an ideal site for seclusion, hermitry, and revelation. It is also a place for direct confrontation with the other facet of the divine, namely, temptation, sin, and death. The Israelites wandered the desert for forty years as an initiation prior to their entry into the Land of Israel, and Satan tempted Jesus in the desert for forty days. The number forty in itself represents the fluidity of time: in the Scriptures, “forty years” constitutes a typological idiom that signifies an extended period rather than an accurate measurement of time.

Leshem’s prolonged contemplative gaze also civilizes the desert landscape. She delimits the expansive space with a uniform square format – a perfect, unnatural geometric shape. Leshem organizes the chaotic space of the desert according to the Renaissance laws of linear perspective, situating the vanishing points along the symmetrical axes. In her photographs, the imaginary horizon line that arises from the observer’s point of view becomes tangible, creating a sharp distinction between heaven and earth. Not only does Leshem’s depiction reveal the characteristics of the landscape, it also imbues them with urban standards, thus transforming the scene into an arena of confrontation between the rational and the irrational…”

Kobi Ben Meir

 



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