Victoria Marchenkova – 288 Nitzotzin (Holy Sparks)

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This artwork dedicated to sparks of holiness, . This piece contains the exact number of empty tubes to represent the 288 sparks of light in “288 Nitzotin”. The concept of 288 Nitzotin (or ‘sparks’) originates from Kabbalah, it’s a multi-layered and long story about good and evil, explained in more detail below. One interpretation is that it’s hard to destroy evil in the world because parts of light (or good) are connected together with them and if you try to destroy evil it is almost 100 percent sure that you destroy good as well. So, to divide them is one of the problems humanity is working on. 

Editors note: 288 Nitzotin (Sparks), a Kabbalistic concept of “Holy sparks” that refers to the creation of the universe when too much light was poured into the vessels of creation causing them to shatter. The holy sparks were dispersed and descended into the world and remain here to be collected and elevated once again to their source.  It is said that it is part of humanity’s mission to collect and elevate the holy sparks and return them to the source of creation. It’s suggested this can be achieved through our individual acts of loving kindness, through kind and true words spoken in all situations that come our way. 

The number 288 in this context is a difficult one to get to grips with, there are many interpretations of this story to be found online and other suggested numbers about the particular amount of sparks, further reading is advised. This article from Rabii David Cooper provides a nice metaphor to explain the concept. 

Victoria extends the concept of working with light and discoloured vessels in her project Millennial’s Alchemy. She goes on to explain about this project:

The whole series Millennials Alchemy is made in similar technologies, burning and colorizers. As I saw the Millennial generation as a generation interested in life experiments, like their life consisted of many small laboratory tubes. This artwork was inspired by my personal experiment with religions (many of them are connected to ideas of light, and this one is particularly based on my experiment with visiting lectures in a synagogue for almost one year). Religion is not the one and only problem of millennials, of course, in this series I also made artworks about ecology, feminism, polyamory, nomadism, natural resources like oil and so on. But all of them are connected with these medical glass tubes as markers of experiment. Burning the inside of them gives some sense of drama, as life experiments do not always result in something good, sometimes it is about burning out and disasters. So these patterns are a synthesis of burning and colorising.

Find Victoria here: