“One needs a broken heart but one also needs it to be whole. And the two of them together, twins, broken and whole.” -- Rabbi Simcha Bunim
Rabbi Bunim’s teaching flowed from his 18th century Poland directly into my own heart, broken by the pandemic that was devastating New York in 2020. As R. Daniel explicated the text, part of his class on Revolutionary Chasidic Ideas and Practices, I felt comforted and consoled.
R.Simcha’s words also lent me needed inspiration for my art-making. Even while the class was still going on, I began to visualize and draw heart shapes. When the first wave of the pandemic abated and I was able to go to my studio, I started to sculpt hearts from a beautiful batch of red fiber, using bright beads to mark them with veins and arteries. To make the contrast clear, I used dark blue wool to craft broken hearts, opening wounds in the felted shapes.
As I worked, my hands discovered the steps bridging broken and whole. I created hearts breaking, mending and emerging. This completed the installation, which I recently showed at Ceres Gallery in NYC. In this video, you can see the work and hear me discussing it.