27 March, 2008

Jewish Museum Berlin and "Shalechet" (Fallen Leaves)

One of the main stops that was a necessity to visit while in Berlin was the Jewish Museum. I have been wanting to go there since freshman year when we learned of it. The building itself by Daniel Libeskind is really amazing. The exterior was great and the window pattern was awesome to see up close; the window lines themselves were made by connecting different important locations in Jewish history. The first section you enter is the where three different axis create a hallway system that leads you to three voids and to the rest of the museum: the axis of death leads to the Holocaust Tower, continuity leads to the rest of the museum and the Memory void, and exile leads to the Garden of Exile. Each void is different in nature and feeling. The Memory void holds an installation by Menashe Kadishman called "Shalechet" (Fallen Leaves). There are 10,000 faces roughly made of iron that are spread out on the floor. When you walk on them, there is this echoing clanking noise that is really eerie. It was more of what I was looking for in this building especially since the rest of the museum felt very commercial and a bit trite with bright carpeting and bright installations. I was quite surprised at how there was such a difference between the the actual museum and the Holocaust sector of the museum.

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