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Where Lines Converge: A New Site-Specific Art Installation

November 10, 2022 | General News

We are proud to share that the Central Synagogue sanctuary is now home to a stunning new site-specific installation, Where Lines Converge, created by artist Nell Breyer. As part of Central’s “Get Inspired. Get Connected. Get Shabbat” initiative, Breyer’s temporary installation adds a new visual dimension to our place of prayer, offering us a unique opportunity for individual, communal, and spiritual reflection.  
To hear more about the piece in Breyer’s own words, watch the discussion with Central’s own Rabbi Sarah Berman and artist Nell Breyer here.

You can experience Where Lines Converge for yourself in Central Synagogue’s Sanctuary through June 2023. You are invited to visit for services or during our public visiting hours on Wednesdays from 12:30-2:00 pm (beginning November 23, 2022).

Nell Breyer 
“Where Lines Converge” 
String, brass 

Where Lines Converge is a site-specific installation created for the Central Synagogue sanctuary. Plumbed lines of string delineate the soaring verticality of the space and appear to converge towards a vanishing point in the sky beyond the visible confines of the deep blue expanse of ceiling.

The piece offers a choreographic score through which members can experience the sanctuary space anew. The anchored lines of string measure the true vertical of the space along the building’s central axis. The lines are anchored by symmetrical, brass plumb-bobs: an ancient instrument of human measurement used, since the Babylonians, for architectural construction of a perfect vertical, marking an imaginary line that runs straight to the center of the earth. 

The anchored lines remain distinctive human acts of measurement while collectively building a choral gesture that invites viewers to consider the enormity of activity overhead – the vibrations, light, color, air, temperatures, sounds, matter, and movements – within the space and beyond it. 

The piece draws upon iconic choreographic works for public spaces, such as Trisha Brown’s “Man Walking Down the Side of a Building” (1970) and Elizabeth Streb’s “One Extraordinary Day” (2012); as well as minimalist and conceptualist ideas from artists such as Fred Sandback, who noted, of his own work, “A line of string isn’t a line. It's a thing….It’s not a demonstration of an idea. It’s an actuality.”[1] Where Lines Converge also points towards contemporary and culturally-consumed images of cosmic time and interstellar space, such as those vividly depicted in the “Pillars of Creation” – a photograph originally taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (1995) and reseen by the Herschel Space Observatory (2011) and the James Webb Telescope (2022) capturing a site of interstellar gas and dust activity that is in the process of creating new stars whilst simultaneously eroding into eventual destruction. 

[1] Draft notes from the artist are intended for the exhibition catalog published by the Kunstraum, Munich, in 1975. First published in Fred Sandback. New York: Zwirner & Wirth, Lawrence Markey, 2004. 

Photos: Nell Breyer © 2022 

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