A unique exhibition due to open in the Israel Museum’s Ruth Youth Wing for Art Education on March 29 will examine the transition from day to night, and the universal human experience of falling asleep. Good Night is on view from March 29, 2012 – January 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 the night sky.
The exhibition features approximately fifty works from Israel and abroad, including works from international and Israeli contemporary artists Darren Almond, Jonas Dahlberg, Claire Fontaine, Dina Shenhav, and Mariana Vassileva, as well as examples of Judaica, Jewish ethnography, archaeology, and illustrated books.
A number of works were created especially for the exhibition -
* Lullaby, by Hadassa Goldvicht and Anat Vovnoboi. Lullaby provides an insight into childhood past and present, through lullabies sung in diverse language and melodies by Museum visitors and staff, viewed by way of a site-specific collage-like video.
* Alma’s Blanket, by Julianne Swartz. In Alma’s Blanket, the visitor will hear soothing words of comfort in English, Hebrew and Arabic which will emerge from loudspeakers. The installation will also be visible as an electronic blanket of solace weaved out of colored electric cords designed in the dimensions of the blanket of the artist’s daughter, Alma
* The Bed’s Dream, by Dena Shenhav. Constructed as a commentary on her son’s bedroom, the objects and furniture in the room are made of the same soft sponge as the bedding, transforming the room into an intimate caressing space, while creating a tranquil environment.
* Sleepers, by Naomi Leshem. In her series, Sleepers, photographer Naomi Leshem shows teenagers from all over the world in varying states of sleep. Capturing a moment at random, the photographs depict a banal reality, rather than a singular occurrence.
* Rain of Stars, by Ronit Agassi. Eleven black umbrellas and a single white one - representing the dark night sky and the moon - hover over two iron beds. Images that may only be discerned when light shines through them are perforated into the umbrellas. These glimmers of light, reflected in two mirrors, are arranged like a mattress on a bed and a puddle under a bed. The scene recalls the artists nightmares as a kibbutz member sleeping in the childrens’ house.
* Pastoral Slumber, by Gabriella Klein. A site-specific mural aims to awaken emotions like those a child feels when seeing monsters in the shadows of a dark bedroom. The image is a striped sheet that can be viewed simultaneously as a landscape of mountains and valleys.
The exhibition also presents a number of interactive installations and spaces, including:
* The “Goodnight Moon Room” created by a number of local artists, is an immersive environment that mirrors the illustrated room from the internationally acclaimed children’s book;
* “Starry Sky” produced especially for the exhibition by Yair Reshef, illuminates the room by way of stars radiating across the ceiling which respond to visitors’ movements;
* A room furnished with a large, comfortable mattress for playing and relaxing during story time.