Kabbalah is a word that speaks of mysticism, ancient teachings, and (lately) Bowie and Madonna. Vienna’s Jewish Museum has dedicated a new exhibition to the topic that explores Kabbalah at the interface between history, culture and religion.
Exhibitionillustrating the historical context of Kaballah
- Particular focus on the influences of Kabbalah thought on culture, both past and present
- Runs Oct 31,
2018to Mar 3, 2019 A cooperationwith Amsterdam’s Jewish Historical Museum
- €12 for standard adult museum entry (free for Vienna Pass holders. Fast-track tickets available*.)
- See also: Events in Vienna
What’s it all about?
My main takeaway from viewing the Kabbalah exhibition was that this school of thought or set of teachings cannot be easily grasped. It is multifaceted, complicated, and its influences seem to flow into various spheres of Jewish and non-Jewish life and culture. But then I come from a position of complete ignorance, it must be said.
It is this impact on culture that dominates the various parts of the exhibition – how the mysticism, symbolism and theory finds its expression in fashion, art, design, film, and music.
To me, the visual exhibition felt like more of a general communication of influences and concepts…an experience rather than an educational or systematic presentation of the topic. A fuller understanding comes from the associated catalogue (which,
There was something quietly impressive about the juxtaposition of ancient texts and more modern cultural items, where 15th and 16th-century scrolls rub metaphorical shoulders with album covers and a wax model of Madonna. All-in-all, there is an awakened sense of seeking understanding of our place in the universe and our relationship to (and appropriation of) a deity. If that makes sense!
The rooms are quite dark, presumably to protect some of the more valuable and ancient artefacts. The low light also enhances the experience, adding to the somewhat ethereal feel of the displays. However, if you’re not good in poor light, be warned.
Dates and tickets
The Kabbalah exhibition opened on Wednesday, October 31,
How to get to the Kabbalah exhibition
See the main Jewish Museum article for tips on getting to the location.
Address: Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna