Intersections: Reading the Space

October 23, 2005 - February 26, 2006



On view in San Francisco from October 23, 2005 until February 26, 2006, the CJM is honored to be the only U.S. venue for Intersections, an interfaith, intercontinental, and interactive exploration of the changing issues of women and faith.This exhibition features the work of three artists: Parastou Forohaur, an Iranian exile living in Germany, Australia-based Irene Barberis, and Jane Logemann who lives in New York. The three artists, who come from different backgrounds and work in different artistic media, all use abstractions of text and language as a theme in their work. By creating non-linguistic images from various texts, Forohaur, Barberis, and Logemann allow audiences to "read the space" whether the alphabets they use are familiar or not. The three artists also share an interest in challenging the issues of patriarchal faiths through the voices of women. Conceived and co-curated by one of the participating artists, Intersections offers the unique experience of seeing contemporary art reflect the complex and fragile negotiations that exist among often disparate groups in a changing world.

In addition to the artists' individual works, the centerpiece of the exhibition, The Joint Work, is not just a shared negotiation between the three women, but an act of great faith as each entrusted an evolving piece of work to one another. Over the course of one year, a length of cloth made three trips around the world to the studios of each of the artists. With no rules or limits, each woman worked on the cloth in turn, negotiating both individual and cultural differences while exploring the possibilities of transformation and exchange.

Exhibition Artists

Irene Barberis' art reworks Christian writings using the materials of a post-modern, post-industrial age. Plastics, silicon, and fluorescent colors form grid-like structures and patterns in her installations, which emphasize the fundamental nature of faith through disjunction. Her individual work for the exhibition includes a vibrant, oversized pink inflatable sculpture as well as works ornamented with visionary Biblical texts which are inscribed by a sewing machine or drawn in silicon. Barberis initiated the creation of Intersections and co-curated the exhibition with Helen Light of the Jewish Museum of Australia.

Iranian-born Parastou Forouhar who lives in exile in Germany, works in many media exploring the role of women in Islamic traditions, examining cultural identity and the forces that put one into boxes defined by others. She frequently uses the materials and textiles of the Iranian stereotypeóchadors, turbans, beards, and veilsóreflecting of the Western gaze back onto itself. One of her individual works for the exhibition, Written Carpet, features a traditional Islamic decorative motifóthe beautiful, eloquent Persian script, which eccentrically connects writing and space, as it courses over the walls, the floor, and the ceiling.

Jane Logemann uses texts taken from languages as diverse as Russian, Arabic, Korean, Japanese, and Hebrew. Her repetition of words is mesmerizing and almost Kabbalistic as it evokes the strength and mystery of the combination of letters that make meaning. Her 10-piece Plague Series, included in the exhibition, portrays each of the plagues visited by God on the Egyptians in the Jewish Passover story; the name of each plague is repeated over and over against a different background color from the green of Frogs to the cold grayish purple of Pestilence.


"Intersections: Reading the Space" is an exhibition from the Jewish Museum of Australia, Gandel Centre of Judaica. The San Francisco presentation is made possible through major support from The Simcha Foundation and The Estate of Naomi Koch Estess.

Additional support for the exhibition has been provided by the Consulate General of Australia, Hotel Griffon, and Qantas Airlines.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum gratefully acknowledges the generous support of a grant from an anonymous Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund, The Simcha Foundation, Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, anonymous donors, and the Members of the Contemporary Jewish Museum. The Museum is a beneficiary of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties.


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