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Eretz Israel Museum Showing People, Faces, Masks and Beliefs
A visitor looks at an art installation that is part of an exhibit entitled "Faces: Inside and Out", at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv November 16, 2009. Reuters/Gil Cohen Magen.
TEL AVIV.- What does a face tell us about the character of its owner? Why is one person considered handsome and another ugly, one funny and one frightening? This is a fascinating, colorful and surprising exhibit dealing with the enigma of the human face through masks, art, mysticism, Kabbalah, identikits, objects and studies of the human face.

The exhibit deals with numerous aspects; it touches upon “the face within the face," reading the face according to the Kabbalah, history and physiognomy, as well as personology and other academic fields.

Faces are enigmatic, indecipherable and secretive. Physiognomy is a mystical, elusive and fascinating subject that raises numerous questions relating to human character.

The exhibit raises questions and assumptions that emerge when dealing with the enigma of the face, and seeks to shed light on the mystery and conundrum hidden in the human face.

Numerous fields attempt to decipher the face and interpret its features, beginning with a profound study found in the Kabbalah and the Book of the Zohar, through classical sculpture in ancient times, works of art and masks that originated in different cultures. Contemporary research is far-reaching. Scholars in Israel and abroad who deal with social and cognitive psychology attempt to explain the connection, if it exists, between facial features and the human psyche. Scientists dealing with artificial intelligence try to “teach" the computer to beautify the face and “understand" the meaning of beauty.

In the exhibit visitors will meet their own image and set out on a journey that examines facial features in numerous ways; they will meet with different schools of thought that deal with study of the face (from the Kabbalah through the various branches of the sciences) and try to answer the question of whether faces really attest to our character and personality as human beings.

This question has numerous answers – both contradictory and complementary. Some schools of thought regard the face as a map of the personality, while others disprove the belief that faces attest to our character. Visitors will see the different historical, cultural, aesthetic, artistic, academic and pseudo-scientific approaches. At each “station" or “meeting place" visitors will be able to extract information about their own faces and those around them.

The exhibit also presents objects tangential to the main theme, such as caricatures, identikits, faces and objects (the connection between an object and a facial feature and a person’s personality), the mapping and coding of faces in art, interactive games, and so on.

Eretz Israel Museum | Physiognomy | Masks | Art |


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