Jan Menses
Kaddish Series on the Holocaust - Shoah
Kaddish Series
Kaddish Prayer
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Klippoth Series
Klippoth Series
Klippoth Early Works
Klippoth Later Works
Tikkun Series
Tikkun Series
Tikkun Paintings
Diabolica Series
Diabolica Series
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Diabolica Paintings
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Color Works Series
Color Works Paintings
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The Stages of a Painting 1
The Stages of a Painting 2
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Portraits by Orly Yahalom
Holocaust Survivor Ima Nadia
Gallery Under Construction
Klippoth Series

The word klippoth means skins, shells, envelopes, membranes, peels, matter, etc. In the kabbalistic system the demons -- who are always called by the name of the ‘shells’ (klippoth), the root of which is Kolauf, Kalof (to pare, unshell, peel) -- are nothing more than matter itself, and the passions that depend on it.

They are the grossest and most imperfect forms, the “shells” of existence, in short everything that denotes absence of life, of intelligence and of order. Like the angels, they form 10 sefiroth, ten degrees where darkness and impurity thicken more and more, as in the circles of Dante.

This evil principle in matter is to be found everywhere, according to the Kabbalah, in the dark vacuum, which was formed when the infinite ‘contracted’ (tzimtzum) in order to make room for the finite world of phenomena; He projected his light, providing it at the same time with the ‘vessels’, which were to serve as media for its multifarious manifestations in creation.

But some of the vessels, unable to endure the inrush of light, emitted from the infinite (‘en-sof’) gave way and broke. The breaking of the vessels or Shevirath Ha-kelim caused a deterioration in the worlds above, along with chaos and confusion in the world here below.

Instead of its uniform diffusion throughout the universe, the light, irradiating from the infinite was broken up into sparks, illuminating only certain parts of physical creation, while other parts were left in darkness, a state which, in itself, is a type of negative energy. Thus did light and darkness, good and evil, begin to contend for the mastery of the world.
As mentioned earlier, the klippoth are composed of 10 individual sefiroth.  The first two degrees are nothing else but the state in which genesis represents to us the earth before the six days, that is to say: absence of all visible form and of all organization. The third is the seat of darkness: the same darkness, which, in the beginning, covered the face of the abyss.

Then follow what are called the seven levels, or so-called hells, which show in a systematic outline all the disorders of the moral world, and all the torments consequent to them. There we see every passion of the human heart, every vice and every weakness personified in a demon that becomes the torment of those who have been led astray by these faults. Here lust and seduction, there anger and violence, further on gross impurity, the demon of solitary debauches, elsewhere crime, idolatry, pride.

These 7 levels are divided and subdivided ad infinitum: for every kind of perversity there is something like a special kingdom and thus the abyss unfolds itself gradually in all its depth and immensity.

The Klippoth series consisted at one time of over 500 works executed over the years. They are roughly divided in 10 cycles of about 50 works each, each cycle dealing with a specific aspect whose passions touched on above in its various manifestations. A substantial number of words were taken from Jan Menses' studio when it was vandalized in the late sixties, others the artist destroyed himself. In its final state, the series consists of 350 works and was finished completed in 1978.

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