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The Invention of Death

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Or Vallah. "The Invention of Death," in Portraits of Cain: Representation of Others in Israeli Contemporary Art (Beer-Sheva: Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 2012): 134–138.

First appearing in the Bible in Genesis 3:19 - “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” - The concept of death is incorporated in the story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Death was inflicted on Adam and Eve as a punishment. However, it was deferred until “Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him” (Genesis 4: 8). This unemotional phrasing reveals the true nature of the act committed by Cain as an act of involuntary manslaughter.

This short catalog article reflects on the echoing of the memory of this primeval narrative from photographs, paintings, and sculptures that strive to give expression to the place of the offender and offended, focusing on Israeli contemporary art. 

Portraits of Cain was the catalog for an exhibition with the same name. Read about the exhibition.

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