Meïr Long Project

The French artist Meïr Long works on the closure. He lived 10 years in a cloister where a fence separate world from silence space of the cloister and beacame traditional jew. After classical art formation in monastery and in his early life, he decided to work with cans.

Meïr’s main media is the Can, a trashed object that cannot be worshiped. Trashed containers emptied of their rich contents are a figure of the vulnerable human body and being, symbol of the soul (Neshama) fence.

Life Fences

From a psychoanalytic point of view, the umbilicus signs the closure of the physical body and introduce the subject in the field of language (Cf. Denis Vasse, l’ombilic et la voix). This first fence can be destroyed by an abusive mother or a rape, or verbal violence.

We spend our lives creating fences that protect us (cell membrane, house, habit …) and communicate with others. This form, is the condition for the possibility of Life (Haïm).

Voice on the tongue (Cf. Thorah Shebe al pé) and in the hear is the best expression of this movement from interiority to exteriority and vice versa. In hebrew Panim (face) and penim (interiority) are a similar word.

The second hebrew benediction in the morning marvels at that :

‮בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת הָאָדָם בְּחָכְמָה, וּבָרָא בוֹ נְקָבִים נְקָבִים חֲלוּלִים חֲלוּלִים. גָּלוּי וְיָדוּעַ לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ, שֶׁאִם יִפָּתֵחַ אֶחָד מֵהֶם, אוֹ יִסָּתֵם אֶחָד מֵהֶם, אִי אֶפְשַׁר לְהִתְקַיֵּם וְלַעֲמוֹד לְפָנֶיךָ אַפִלּוּ שָׁעָה אֶחָת. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, רוֹפֵא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת: »

« Blessed are You, Adonai, our G.od, King of the universe, Who formed man with wisdom and created within him many openings and many hollow spaces. It is obvious and known before Your Seat of Honor that if even one of them would be opened, or if even one of them would be sealed, it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You even for one hour. Blessed are You, Adonai, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously. »

It expresses thanks for having the ability to excrete, for without it existence would be impossible.

havdala (from the Hebrew verb leavdil: « to separate »).

In the begining G.od sperates light from darkness, waters, man from woman … The onement (Newman) is the opposite of Galout diaspora, dispersion.

Spiritual fences

But the fence has not only a physical sense but also a spiritual sense.

The first aramean world of the Talmu is meemataï, « Until When ? » questionning when a man can finish and begin the Prayer of Shema (Listen) that must be said in day light. And the Talmud answer to this question  » From when do we hear G.od Revelation ? »

« When you can look at the stranger’s face like that of a brother »

Talmud Berakhot, Second Mishna

Deprived of its destroyed Temple, a sanctuary in the space, Judaism invented a sanctuary in the time : the Shabbat. The 36 melakhot : forbidden tasks of the Shabbat are structured by actions to produce bread, habits (fence for the body and visible communication membrane and self expression) and house. This spritual practice build the structures of the jewish life. The Talmud claims that evything in this list of 36 forbidden tasks are relationship with the artwork of the mishkan (Tabernacle). Thus every jew become the real artist of his life.

Separations between Day and night, Israel and the Nations, Holy and profane, pure (life) and impure (death)… make sign of Eternal life in the human time.

The Holy of Holies an empty space symbolise in the human space, spiritual relation of Hashem, (the G.od who’s name is « The Name »), with Humanity.

The gravest of these sins of tale-bearing is the lashon hara (« the evil tongue »), which involves discrediting a person and Killing on a great distance. Lachon hara affects social interfaces : walls, Myriam’s skin when she discredit Moïse.

The role of the artist is to elaborate spiritual fences symbolizing Spirituality that is not « another world » but this world with a human visage (Panim).

Meïr Long