Interiors and Exteriors
Art and Design
Objects and Antiquities

Sunday, May 4


About a year ago, we got excited over a set of mysterious metal bits;  their purpose was elusive and their forms enticing.  And so, while waiting in line in the Tuileries garden, I was surprised to see, seemingly emerging from the lawn like so many mushrooms, another full set of mystery bits.

This public artwork offers sharp contrast to the grand gold tipped obelisk on one side and the anguished Rodin sculptures on the other.  Small and subtle, I saw the shapes as seeds of things to come.  The work, Grand Commandment Blanc (1984) is by Alain Kirili and is one of his ongoing Commandment Series began in 1980.  Kirili explains the title: 

It took me quite a long time to find a title for it.  I found "Commandment" when I visited the Jewish Museum in New York and saw pieces called rimonim, Torah finials.  There were many of them in the window; they were somewhat similar to my iron sign.  I was so impressed with the connection that I went to visit a rabbi on White Street to ask him why the objects were named rimonim, and he told me it was the Hebrew word for pomegranate; they were so named because there are as many seeds in pomegranates as there are commandments in the Torah.

The series (executed in iron, concrete or styrofoam) explores the ability of a simple form to have symbolic meaning.  The shapes can be seen as ancient glyphs, or scripture; a small but potent sign. Kirili's most recent Commandment project was installed in 2012 in the square by Paris' Hôtel de Ville and was open for the public to interact with.

quote from The Brooklyn Rail

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