Israel Museum Exhibition Explores Passage from Day to Night and Universal Ritual of Falling Asleep

Jerusalem, March 27, 2012—A special exhibition opening in the Israel Museum’s Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education on March 29 will examine the passage from day to night and the universal human experience of falling asleep.Good Night remains on view throughJanuary 31, 2013.

Good Night explores the process of falling asleep as a ritual passage from one state of being to another, particularly in the world of children, where the experience of being put to bed ranges from reading books and singing lullabies to reassurances against natural anxieties about darkness, death, and the changing states of consciousness that accompany the transition into sleep. While most of the works on view address the ritual of sleep and the world inside the bedroom and in the sleeper’s head, others focus on the night-time world outside the bedroom and in the night sky.

The exhibition features approximately fifty works by contemporary artists from Israel and worldwide, among them Darren Almond, Jonas Dahlberg, Claire Fontaine, Dina Shenhav, and Mariana Vassileva, as well as objects of Jewish world culture and archaeology and illustrated books.

A number of works were created especially for the exhibition:

·         Lullaby, by Hadassa Goldvicht and Anat Vovnoboi,provides insights into childhood past and present, through lullabies sung in diverse language and melodies by Museum visitors and staff, presented as a site-specific, collage-like video work

·         Alma’s Blanket,by Julianne Swartz, bathes visitors in an aural experience of soothing words of comfort in English, Hebrew and Arabic emerging from sound speakers. The installation itself is also visible as an electronic blanket of solace, woven from colored electric cords designed according to the dimensions of a blanket belonging to the artist’s daughter, Alma

·         The Bed’s Dream, by Dena Shenhav, is constructed as a commentary on her son’s bedroom, with the objects and furniture in the room made of the same soft sponge-like material as the bedding, transforming the room into an intimate, caressing space

·         Sleepers, by Naomi Leshem, reveals teenagers from all over the world in varying states of sleep. The series of photographs captures moments at random, depicting the banal reality of teens in the time of deep sleep

·         Rain of Stars, by Ronit Agassi, comprises eleven black umbrellas and a single white one – representing the dark night sky and the moon – that hover over two iron beds. When light shines through the umbrellas, perforated images emerge, and are reflected in two mirrors arranged mattress-like on bed frames and with a puddle under each bed. The installation recalls the artist’s nightmares as a kibbutz member sleeping in the children’s house

·         Pastoral Slumber, by Gabriella Klein, is a site-specific mural that aims to awaken emotions like those a child feels when monsters emerge from the shadows of a dark bedroom. The mural, a striped sheet that can be viewed less ominously as a landscape of mountains and valleys, is painted directly on the museum wall


The exhibition also presents a number of interactive installations, among them:

The “Goodnight Moon Room” created by local artists as an immersive environment that mirrors the illustrated bedroom from the classic children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrator Clement Hurd

Starry Sky” produced especially for the exhibition by Yair Reshef, which illuminates the room with stars radiating across the ceiling and stimulated by visitors’ movements

A uniquely devised space furnished with large, comfortable mattresses for playing and relaxing during story time.


Good Night is curated by Kobi Ben Meir, Nordmann Family Associate Curator in the Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education.A bilingual catalogue accompanies the exhibition.