Magazine article Tikkun

The Silence of Stone

Magazine article Tikkun

The Silence of Stone

Article excerpt

The Silence of Stone

Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky is poet laureate of the United States. Reprinted with permission from Carved Memories: Heritage in Stone from the Russian Jewish Pale (Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2000). Photographs ??? David Goberman, courtesy of Goberman Archive and SoHo Triad Fine Arts, New York. All rights reserved.

Two instruments of memory, photography and stone: each gesturing toward eternity, the gesture that always becomes elegiac. Our effort to preserve a moment of light or the momentum of tools incising character or image, to extend some particle or surface beyond the iron boundary between is and was, emphasizes in each medium the pathos of our desire for infinite memory.

In the stunning photographs of David Goberman, the silence of light on emulsion, the silence of rock, become the terrible, eternal silence of a murdered world.

It has been said that photography, shaving time into fractions of a second, with a quick slice of the shutter isolates the moment into its own funerary marker, the changing element of light unchanged, while what is depicted changes. And carved stone, with its wide gulp of time, records how its memorial marks and symbols are weathered or crumbled away by the elements--by air moving, by water dripping and freezing and melting, by earth shifting. …

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