The Benches

The Benches, front of Jewish Cemetery, Stiphausen, Germany

A few years ago, apprehending the old cemetery—and standing in front of the cemetery gate, I thought  that i really wanted a place to sit down, to rest and to think: to absorb all that this place meant to me: my memories, emotions and history. Imagine—there are Jews living here—a community, and now no more. Maybe they looked out from this very spot, as I was doing, at the rolling green fields and the soft and so still brown and white cows.

I love Stipshausen. I have very good friends here and have returned many times. The children and grandchildren of those who are buried here in this cemetery, were a community that has vanished, willingly or unwillingly. I could not help but involve this thought in contributing to this project of this village and to remember. So when I was asked to do a sculpture for the garden in front of the cemetery, I knew that i wanted to create the benches instead, to invite a place to welcome our thoughts and welcome reveries and memories.

The progeny of those buried here are long gone. Our history—international, regional, personal—is perhaps to complicated to mention here, but the physical, familial and spiritual: needed recognition, for these are souls here, and this fact invites all our reflections. The focus of this community project in Stipshausen, for me, is for remembrance—to remember it all, our history, for all of us, for it will, as well, educate future generations.

The benches are constructed of iron, wood and brass (chosen for their aesthetic, compositional and the construction’s integrity.)

Dedicated October 22nd, 2006.[/column]

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