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Muhammad Abo Salme: Cascade

Muhammad Abo Salme is a lighting artist. His art hinges on the moment when light is switched on to create a spectacle. Cascade is installed in the Museum’s Lightfall—a unique architectural space that is essentially contingent on natural, shifting daylight. In his first museum exhibit, Abo Salme transforms daylight and works with artificial lighting, in a timed cycle that diverges from the actual time of day.

Video — Muhammad Abo Salme: Cascade — Exhibition Setup Process
Video Production: Daniel Aharoni

The installation is comprised of thousands of meters of metal bead chains of the sort usually associated with military dog-tags, and these days with the chains expressing solidarity with the hostages held in captivity by Hamas. The combination of a symbolic material—a huge, dense mass suspended in mid-air—and imagined time evokes an experience that flits between distress and wonderment. Since October 7, 2023, time has taken on a different meaning: days pass and time moves on yet simultaneously stands still. While the metal bead chain bears a local connotation, the installation engages with the universal human loss arising from the act of war.

Cascade’s fascinating appearance also harbors a terrifying force threatening to become a torrential flood. It is designed to suggest a dual, contrasting effect of a shimmering light-flooded space that might also be a psychological abyss. The striking aesthetics that becomes apparent as one moves around the Lightfall gradually shifts to the possibility of self-obliteration on entering the ground level, with its mirrored floor and gentle sound.

Cascade is the seventh site-specific installation featured in the Museum’s Lightfall, which serves as the building’s central axis. In this angular, perpendicular space, the installation’s complexity is highlighted, as well as the challenge that it poses us: to move around it, observe it from all angles, and gradually experience its force—a gushing rainfall hanging precariously above us; an object that both reflects our present and shapes future visions.

Muhammad Abo Salme (b. 1989, lives in Katzir) holds a BFA in Cinema from Sapir College. The power of his work lies in the relationship between the performative and the visual. He began his career in filmmaking, and his interest in designing cinematic vision has led him to lighting and stage design for music concerts.

The installation is generously supported by the Kirsch Foundation and Mr. Harry Haberman. Additional support was provided by the Friends of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel and the Young Friends of TAMA

Other exhibitions

War and Peace – 50 Years of the Jerusalem Print Workshop
Hold Everything Dear
Theatre of Animals
Green Through and Through