Jerusalem Puzzle, 1998

Invited to exhibit at Tel Aviv Museum’s youth Department in 1998, I thought of creating a game I much enjoyed as a child. I had made two previous works related to jigsaw puzzle as I particularly like its conceptual oscillation between construction and deconstruction. The work was to interact with the young viewers.

Together with photographer Rina Castelnuevo, we choose a viewpoint that would best encapsulate the essence of Jerusalem.

On the left side of the picture one can see the 3 crosses of Mary Magdalene Church and in the background the majestic golden Dome of the Rock. On the right side figures the Golden Gate also called the Gate of Mercy in Hebrew and from where according to the Jewish religion, the Messiah will appear at the end of Times. Beside the Old City walls and dwellings, well-known modern buildings are also visible in the background.

The jigsaw puzzle from its very nature constantly oscillates between unity and fragmentation and even when completed it will always bear the scars of its potential fragmentation. Similarly the city of Jerusalem, where cultural and religious identities coexist at times more peacefully then at others, bears the scars of its contested political unity/fragmentation.

Bearing in mind the long exile of the Jewish people, I created a wooden suitcase that would hold the pieces of the ‘Jerusalem Puzzle’ to be reconstructed anywhere and at anytime.





Ariane Littman