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Hanukkah Lamp

Hanukkah Lamp

Miracle

Lyn Godley (American, b. 1956)
Blandon, Pennsylvania, United States, 2004
  • Light boxes and power source; Light sources: flicker bulbs, backlit sculpted vinyl, electroluminescent panels, fiber optics, electroluminescent wire, vinyl overlay diffuser panels, LED lights, backlit digital imagery, light bulbs, and rope lighting
  • Installation approximately: 72 x 156 in. (182.9 x 396.2 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Jewish Museum Centennial Commission; Purchase: Nancy and Jeffrey Lane and Cheryl and Michael Minikes Gift in honor of Phyllis Mack, 2005-1a-j
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Hanukkah Lamp

Miracle

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Miracle

Lyn Godley's joyous and monumental light installation captures the essence of kindling the holiday lights. The electric Hanukkah lamp is 11 feet across. It is made of nine different types of light, including electroluminescent panels, fiber optics, electroluminescent wire, LED lights, backlit digital imagery, and regular light bulbs.

According to tradition, the number of lights in a Hanukkah lamp increases each night, from one up to eight, because we increase in matters of sanctity and do not decrease. In Godley's interpretation, the nine different sources of light are used in a cumulative fashion. The work runs on a timer, cycling through the eight "nights" of the holiday. First, a flame-like shamash appears and then the first "candle," which consists of the flame and a second type of light. Another candle is then added, along with a third light source. The number of light sources increases with each candle so that by the end all nine types of illumination are blazing.

Godley says, "With each additional day that the flame continues to burn, the miracle magnifies. The gasp that we utter on the third day is greater than the second, and continues to grow with each day. The experience of awe and wonder, when in the presence of a miracle unfolding, multiplies with the continuation of that which is inexplicable."