Doug Beube
Salum

1992
altered book, wood
80 x 12 x 3 in.
Salum, which in Hebrew means ‘ladder’ reflects the synthesis of scripture, architecture and sculpture. It references the biblical story of Jacob’s Ladder that appears in Genesis 28:10-19. This found Siddur--although initially written by another author and commercially bound—is a collaboration between the original writers of The Book or Talmud and myself. The transformation of the book into a cylindrical container of knowledge depicts the literal aspect of the word as an actual force of power or space in time. Instead of relying solely upon mental or abstract levels of the content to understand the book, readers enter the cluster of pages through their sense of sight. Viewers appreciate this work as a densely packed volume of calligraphic text whose unfolding stories are revealed through languages both physical and visual.

The altered Siddurs hang above the viewer’s head with the black ladder and miniature chair ascending to them. The metaphor is for the viewer to gain knowledge, the person must strive above to gain access to the knowledge within the books. The three layers or stands, allow the seeker to pause or contemplate their status or position upon their ascent.
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