The Cloud of Unknowing

The art installation The Cloud of Unknowing by Bea Szenfeld, commissioned by the Jewish Museum, hovers high up in the old synagogue. Bea Szenfeld’s poetic cloud is skilfully interwoven with the carved cloud decorating the frame of the original pulpit. Similar clouds can be seen elsewhere, such as in the Norrköping synagogue. They presumably originate in a Christian intellectual tradition, although notions of a cloud-dwelling god also exist in Jewish thinking. 

“The observation of clouds is done for scientific reasons, but is also contemplative. A global decrease in cloud mass has been observed, with cloud physicists studying its impact on our climate. Clouds have a strong symbolic value and visualise intangibility, changeability, and loneliness. The cloud has a heavenly force in many religions, symbolising the home of the gods. The inspiration for this work is taken from the book The Cloud of Unknowing, written in the late 14th century, a time reminiscent of today. Europe was filled with unrest, disruption, and war. But the 14th century was not only a time of evilness – it was also the golden age of mysticism. Cloud gazing has always been, and still is, a carefree, contemplative pastime, where clouds are nature’s poetry and a symbol of transition and change.” Bea Szenfeld 

Bea Szenfeld
Bea Szenfeld is a designer, often working with unexpected materials. She has developed the papercraft into a separate genre, and her experimental paper garments have been worn by figures such as Lady Gaga and Björk. Her works are exhibited in Dunkers kulturhus, Röhsska museum, Liljevalch Gallery, and Somerset House in London, among others.

Thanks to Lessebo Paper AB