Transcending the Ladder


The ladder of heaven’ of John Klimakos, 12th Century,

Alchemy and Mysti­cism, Alexander Roob, Taschen Books 1997

Heav­enly ladder of St. John of Sinai, John Klimakos, 12th Century,

Tempera on Wood, Monastery of St. Catherine — Mount Sinai

Tanya Ury’s article written in English enti­tled Tran­scending the Ladder about the devel­op­ment and research for her project Jacob’s Ladder appears in From Work to Word’ edited and published by Doris Frohnapfel, Professor of Photog­raphy at the Bergen Art Academy, Korridor Verlag, ISBN 3980435482 (D) 2002

Over the following pages, I would like to illus­trate my own working prac­tice as an artist, which includes story telling. In partic­ular, I will demon­strate my fasci­na­tion with the legend of Jacob that was orig­i­nally engen­dered by many and complex recur­ring child­hood dreams. In those dreams, menac­ingly deep esca­la­tors tumbled and slid the trav­eller into an under­world, from turned-up-level steps. There were also shaky elevator construc­tions made of bare planks on building sites of Babel propor­tions; and then there were the piles of chairs that reached precar­i­ously up into starlit heavens, which one dared to clamber, only as a last resort when pursued by demons. A process of collecting together ideas and raw mate­rial in more recent years, even­tu­ally lead to several art works, directly or indi­rectly inspired by the stories of Jacob’s vision of a ladder to heaven, and his struggle with the angel.”

Jacob’s Ladder – a collec­tion of works:

Tanya Ury uses text, sound and image in her projects. As opposed to a theory of the form and content of the work of art, however, it is here the inten­tion of the artist that stands in the fore­ground. The artist conceives herself to be a medium, inter­me­diary between life and art. Her concep­tions are expressed, always with great effec­tive­ness, in the free use she makes of resources and possi­bil­i­ties: in the form of photog­raphy, with text, video, with sound, and instal­la­tion, in the form of audio­cas­sette, neon sign or story telling. The sources and roots of her stories are linked to cata­strophic histor­ical circum­stances. History is not just under­stood as some­thing that exists in the past. Ury’s text Tran­scending the Ladder forms part of a series, along with other inves­ti­ga­tions such as Taking on the Mantle 1999 (1) Die Gehängten/​Hung Up 1999 (2) and Building Bridges 2001 (3), which, like the selec­tion of her pictures in the text, show that the facts estab­lished by research provide the condi­tions for the fiction that is a work of art.”

Doris Frohnapfel

(1) in: AufBrüche — Kulturelle Produk­tionen von Migran­tinnen, Schwarzen und jüdis­chen Frauen in Deutsch­land (Marginal Cracks — Cultural Produc­tion of Women Migrants, Black and Jewish Women in Germany), Ulrike Helmer Verlag ISBN 3897410427 (D)

(2) in: Termini Tech­nici cata­logue, Salon Verlag, ISBN 3897701502 (D) 2001

(3) in: Patri­ar­chat der Vernunft — Matri­ar­chat des Gefühls? Geschlech­ter­dif­ferenzen im Denken und Fühlen (Patri­archy of Ratio­nality — Matri­archy of Feeling? Gender Differ­ence, Thinking and Feeling), Daedalus Verlag ISBN 3891261675 (D) 2001

Article as PDF with 58 images (down­load ca. 6,5 MB)


2002 Published in From Work to Word’ ed. by Doris Frohnapfel, Korridor Verlag, ISBN 3980435482 (D)

2002 Slide reading, Europe Beyond Borders, City of Women, Ljubl­jana (Sl)

2003 Slide reading, Power and Respon­si­bility, Bet Debora confer­ence Berlin (D)

2003 Slide reading, Vienna Art Academy (A)

Publi­ca­tions & Press

2011 (9.5.) Presen­ta­tion of the exhi­bi­tion Jacob’s Ladder mentioned in the Veedel (Neigh­bour­hood) Website: Hochbunker Körn­er­straße: Ein beson­derer Ort für beson­dere Kunst” (The Above Ground Bunker in Koerner Street: A Special Place for Special Art), by Jürgen Brock-Milden­berger 4veedel​.de/ Cologne (D)

Artist’s Writ­ings & Publications

2002 Published in From Work to Word’ ed. by Doris Frohnapfel, Korridor Verlag, ISBN 3980435482 (D)

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