ARK OF THE LAW
In the Collection of National Gallery of Australia
Blackwood (Acacia), Blackwood Veneer, Anodised and Engraved Aluminium
As with the Tiq, Lueckenhausen used Blackwood (Acacia), an Australian indigenous relative of the wood specified in Exodus to re-enact scripture and to give a specifically contemporary Australian, context to this ancient tradition.
The square is the basic unit that is utilized in all of the components, as can be seen in:
• the overall dimensions of the work and the placement of the various elements within the work, the grid of the anodized aluminium tiles, the widths of the veneer panels, the dimension and cubic volume of the voids, the dimension and cubic volume of the crowns.
Cubic voids in the ends of the cradle/stand allow them to be resolved as four abstracted columns, topped by a cubic prism of triangles representing crowns in a geometrically discreet form, which frequently figure in historical Torah decorations and Arks of the Law, adding authority and majesty.
The face is divided into a grid of one hundred squares and the sixteen squares in each corner are inset with anodized aluminium plates, the gold and silver tones of which reference the precious metals ordained for the construction of the Ark of the Covenant. Each set of sixteen tiles has a paint filled linear engraving derived from, Ethics of the Fathers (Pirke Avot) 5,31: Strong as a leopard, swift as an eagle, fleet as a deer, heroic as a lion.
The inside faces of the doors are inset with aluminium tiles of the same size, engraved with the Ten Commandments in Hebrew, two tiles and five of the Commandments on each door. When the doors are opened to bring the Torah forth, the congregation is also presented with the Commandments. A final tile set into the back face of the inside of the Ark contains the Hebrew inscription: The inside is as the outside. In the sacred sense this refers to an admonition that worthiness should not only be found in outward show but also in inward, sincere belief.