§1.1 Something and Nothing: Diptychs

Part 1:  Something and Nothing

The clearest and most distinct physical traces of eastern Galicia’s deep Jewish history are its communal patrimony––synagogue structures, cemeteries with at least some headstones standing, and sundry communal buildings.  To say that these traces exist clearly and distinctly is not to say that they are intact.  On the contrary, virtually all are in some state of ruin.  This ruin signals a more encompassing reality, namely the great absence of visible traces of Jewish life in eastern Galicia.  Whatever is clear and distinct pales in comparison to that which is unmarked, unapparent, and effectively invisible.  This section of the exhibition grapples with the core contradiction that defines Jewish heritage in eastern Galicia.  It presents a dialectic of traces and tracelessness, ruined presence as against sheer absence, improbable survival as against blunt erasure, something as against nothing.