Wonder Rooms Today

Israeli artists in The Herzliya Museum for Contemporary Art.

Curators: Dalia Levin, Daria Kaufman, Gila Rimon


The traditional Wonder Rooms of the Past are actually extremely relevant today….

The Wonder Rooms, which were an accumulation of curiosities incongruously assembled, can serve as a reminder that the findings of yesterday are always the departing point of the findings of today. Moreover: the scientific finding of yesterday becomes the mere fantasy of today and today’s suggestive fantasy may be the ultimate scientific revelation of today…

The inconsistent assemblages of items and artifacts, pseudoscientific information or fantasy of the Wonder Rooms are a useful reminder that a too rigorous methodology might become an obstacle to perceive the world as a continuous changing phenomenon.

This is due to the fact that we are moved by our own concepts, subject to acquired but limited knowledge, to cultural pre-concepts and subjective idiosyncrasies.

The universe is infinite. It cannot be encapsulated but it sure is the summit of human anthropomorphic exploration which tints it according to the human visible experience of life. Therefore man’s history has always dealt with questions as the meaning of the world, its beginnings, its ends, its patrons…

Culture, Religion and even Science is a suggestive and changing corpus referring to these un-answerable questions. However there are no absolute and definite cultural, religious or scientific concretized truths….

The author of The Book of Inter-religious Peace opts for an open multi-cultural and multi-scientific approach which can become a meaningful incitement of the development of Consciousness.

The Wonder Rooms is a chaotic gathering of the Sublime and the grotesque, the beautiful and the bizarre, of worship objects as well as objets trouves and thus are challenging the irrational will to systemize, categorize or define.

Maybe we should rather adapt the allure of the Tarot cards image of The Fool, who is always on his way to meet the Unknown, by means of playfulness and research, adventure and discipline.

The complexity of human brain should serve as a metaphor for the thinking and sentient micro organ envisaging the macro- universe.

We are an ephemeral phenomenon, among interminable living phenomena, facing the Eternal and Infinitely Changing Flux of Being.

Let us give up illusory possession of ultimate truths and rather improve the moral capacity to observe and mime the continuous Spiral Vitality of Everything, with no superfluous partitions or hierarchical categories.

Overcoming the desire to possess rather than to BE, will is the best way so as to avoid the aberrations committed in the name of a better race, religion or gender.

Having in mind the chaotic element of Nature, is a reminder that any categorization of hierarchic system is of no use or value but can enhances the spirit of inclusion and tolerance towards the living phenomena.

The chaotic element of Nature is equally a reminder that any aspiration to mime the process of Creation – is doomed to fail. The tower of Babel, the myth of Icarus and Daedalus or the cloning of the sheep have one thing in common: the non-acknowledgement of Chaos. However by recognizing the meaningfulness of Chaos – we can amplify the quality of life’s daily experience.

The admittance of Chaos and mystery, as part of life, possible will diminish the anxiety caused by Death – the ultimate unknown phase, which awaits everything and everyone. The various eschatological and futurological beliefs and outlooks mirror this basic psychological human angst.

The primordial archetypes of heaven for the virtuous, hell for the sinners, ascension of the saints to the Divine, resurrection of spirit and bones, eternal blessing or eternal doom – symbolize the need of the human to obtain clear answers regarding life as well as death and life after death.

The Wonder Rooms may well be a visual trigger to give up any secretive, mythological or religious rigidity and instead cultivate the spirit of continuous search, enjoyment of the process of search so as the sensual thrill of the Unknown


Wonder Rooms today

By Dr Dorit Kedar

Author of The Book of Inter-religious Peace

The Center of Inter-religious Peace, Tel Aviv


About Dr. Dorit Kedar

Forced to continuously change nations, cultures and schooling - I had to develop a wider sense of communication, a way of thinking-feeling-behaving which stresses the common denominators. The need to adapt new landscapes and land-souls has taught instinctive means to overcome separatism, prejudices, dogmatic beliefs and suspicions. While looking for the common gathering denominators, I have also increased the ability of perception and individuation. Being constantly in estranged places has triggered psychological processes to turn the unfamiliar into familiar. As an art critic in the Israeli press, a curator, a writer - have always dealt with the otherness, the different and the infinite variety of the Existent. My Book of Peace is the result.
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