Jacob’s Ladder

An Exhibition

1996-2003

 

The politically provocative historical and contemporary images and texts are an ensemble of photographs, video, neon signs, newspaper cuttings and other material, collated together by the artist Tanya Ury in Germany and Mallorca over a period of six years. The title ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ refers to Jacob of the Old Testament.

 

The closing event to Tanya Ury’s exhibition Jacobs Ladder first presented in the Hochbunker Cologne-Ehrenfeld, (D) occurred on 09.11.2002, the anniversary of Reichskristallnacht. The bunker was built on the site of a synagogue, which had been destroyed on Reichskristallnacht, 1938.

“He dreamt that he saw a ladder, which rested on the ground with its top reaching to heaven, and angels of God were going up an down it.” New English Bible, Genesis 28 (12)

 

Twenty years later Jacob again had a vision; this time he wrestled with an angel.

 

“The man said, 'Let me go for day is breaking”, but Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.' New English Bible Genesis 31 (26)

 

Jacob's biblical fight with the angel and the ladder to heaven, are the original sources of inspiration for the various art works contained within the exhibition.

There are few dreams in books. It’s as if they have a bad reputation. There are fewer and fewer of them. Dreams used to occur in all the great books – in the Bible, in epic poems, in Greek literature, in the Babylonian epic poems, in Shakespeare – in an archaic mode, then they became more remote. I associate this increasing remoteness, this desiccation, with the diminishment of other signs. In the same way we find:
  less and less poetry
  less and less angels
  less and less birds
  less and less women
  less and less courage
        Jacob wakes up, he gets up. What becomes of the ladder?
        You have to take a rock, put it under your head, and let the dream ladder grow. It grows down – toward the depths.

P 107-8, “Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing”, Hélène Cixous, 1993, Columbia University Press / New York, ISBN 0-231-07659-2