The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art’s installation features Hermann Nitsch’s large scale book “Leviticus” opened to the segment describing the High Priest’s sacrificial service. The surrounding walls feature 12 terragraphs, extracts from Leviticus in both Hebrew and German, priestly garments, and ritual artifacts. Terragraphy, a printing technique developed by Israeli printer Har-El, mixes heavy varnish with sand from the Negev, a material harking back to the site where the book of Leviticus is narrated to the Priestly caste.

Installed in the main exhibition space of the HVCCA, the installation stands in dialogue with the exhibition LOVE, a bow to the bond between God and the Hebrews, proven by salvation from Egypt and nurtured in the dessert setting where food, water, and sustenance are generously provided. The prayers “Hear Oh Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One” and “Thou Shalt Love … ” are reflected in this extraordinary installation by Nitsch, refracted through a veil of red and etched in sand.

Since 1957, Nitsch has been addressing the intensity of human religiosity through his ritualistic performances in “The Orgies Mysteries Theatre.” With more than 100 performances to date, these staged Dionysian performances emulate religious sacrifices, mimicking the passion plays of the medieval period and harking back to the Biblical and pre-Biblical blood rituals where immersion in the ‘fluid of life’ replaces human sacrifice.

Hermann Nitsch (born August 29, 1938), is a founder of the Vienna Actionists and is one of the most influential artists today.

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Leviticus continues at the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art (1701 Main Street, Peekskill, New York) through December 6. A reception will be held on Saturday, September 12, 5–7pm.

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