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Joshua Neustein | USA

Incense, 2011

Crystal chandelier, bronze coffee pot, sound
140x140x400 cm

Courtesy of the artist

The cultural encounter between Islam and the West is also the link the artist makes between the different segments of his work. Neustein dims the light on one side of the work while turning it up on the other.

The chandelier is a central image in other works by Neustein, a symbol of the wealth, culture, and tradition of Europe. He appropriates it from the ceilings of sumptuous castles and exhibits it far from its original surrounding, lowered to the viewer’s eye level, brushing against the museum’s floor, its light slowly fading.

Is the artist eulogizing hundreds of years of civilization in his work? Is dimming the bright light Europe used to emit a sign of the coming end of an important period in its history? Is the light emitted from the other side of the work, shining bright on an ornate copper incense vase, the light of another sunrise and the beginning of a new dawn?