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Seated in Seclusion

Bratslav Hasidim and Contemporary Design

  • Date iconFebruary 2 2020 - December 31 2021
  • Curators: Sharon Weiser-Ferguson and Eran Lederman
  • Designer: Lisa Blechman
  • Rena (Fisch) and Robert Lewin Gallery

Hitbodedut – self-secluded prayer and introspection – is practiced by Bratslav Hasidim in forests throughout Israel. These Hasidim use the salvaged parts of old chairs to create “new” chairs for this very purpose. Rabbi Nahman of Bratslav (1772-1810) believed a regular practice of hitbodedut was perhaps the most important element in one’s relationship with God. In this state the Hasid addresses God directly, sharing his most personal prayers and thoughts without the mediation of a prayer book or synagogue, as he strives to achieve spiritual affirmation and restoration. Photographs of some of these chairs documented by industrial designer and exhibition co-curator Eran Lederman are displayed alongside chairs created by contemporary designers and accompanied by quotes attributed to Rabbi Nahman. This encounter of objects from different worlds invites exploration of the meaning hidden inside an object, delving into cross-cultural concepts of nature and civilization, self-seclusion and repair.

Exhibition made possible by
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation
Joseph Alexander Foundation, New York