The Golden Calf is a sequel of Timon Imveldt´s graduate collection Exodus, which opposed the Biblical narrative of the Exodus story of the Israelites to the personally experienced process of detachment from a rigid religious system, which excludes and even demonizes alter-sexuals and rejects their right for faith. The Golden Calf is a metaphorical work within the contrasting contexts of religion and sexuality and shows the disoriented and questioning status quo after the detachment into a self-determined life. The versatile symbol of the bull illustrates the conflict many people experience growing up gay in a religious or/and a straight world. It is about an inner fight between shame and authenticity, and the struggle of overcoming the deeply routed and built up rage created by shame. The Golden Bull is the last obstacle to conquer into a shameless, authentic and content life - The Promised Land.
The Golden Calf
Master Thesis - Costume for Performance - London College of Fashion UALConcept and Costume Design - Timon ImVeldtPerformer and Sound Design - MetaraphChoreographer - Jennifer IronsFootage - London College of FashionVenue - Sadler´s Wells
Performed by Metaraph
The menorah offers a vast range of meanings and symbolism. The calculated use of buds and blossoms refer to a coding system which is typical for Jewish symbolism. The interconnected numbers refer to verses in the old scripture which talk about God as the light of the world. The number of the 7 branches refer to the 7 days of creation, where the center light represents the Sabbath. The use of almond flowers and the shape of the branches remind of the tree of life, which was situa- ted in the center of the garden of Eden. In the story of the Golden Calf the people of Israel melted all their gold and jewelry to create a sculpture of a golden bull. They wanted to visualize and touch the image of the god they were praying to. The Golden Calf mirrors how peo- ple decorate themselves with the ultimate truth and how the adora- tion of their treasures keeps them from accepting other people’s way of living life. Like a scold’s bridle it is nearly impossible to have a con- versation in terms of „Who owns the truth?“. Ancient temples were decorated with bull horns and so were the altars in Israel. Multiple times the Old Testa- ment talks about the „horns of the altar“ and mentions that God has horns like a wild bull (Num 24,8 / 23,22).
The menorah is the seven-armed ancient Hebrew lampstand which was originally made out of pure gold and was situated in the portable sanctuary built up by the prophet Moses in the desert and later in the Temple in Jerusalem. The design and construction of the menorah is revealed from God to Moses with a remarkable attention to details: “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. One bud shall be under the first pair of bran- ches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold. “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” - Exodus 25: 31-40, New International Version
The Bull Legs
The image of the matador, the spanish bullfighter embodies this internal struggle. The catholic shaped country of Spain adopted the pagan exhibition fight and turned it into a cruel Christian public sacrificial ritual. Through twisting and turning the role of the matador, through becoming the bull itself, the contrariness of the bullfight embodies the mentioned inner discrepancy.
The Bull Legs
As well in times of the Old Testament of the Bible the bull was the embodiment of fertility, power and wildness. For this reason it was the preferred animal symbol of deities around Israel and Juda. The Old Testament reports that the symbol of the bull was also used for the God of Israel in the north of Israel. These images of the bull were not images of God, they were used as pillars for the invisible God who enthroned on the bull. Even so the mixing up of the image and God was hard to avoid. This is reflected in the story of the Golden Calf which caused the second commandment: „Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image“. The use of the word „calf“ instead of bull carries a mocking undertone with it.
The serpent, often portrayed as the dragon as well, is the ultimate symbol of evil and betrayal in the old scriptures of the Bible. This stands in contrast with the predominantly positive meaning of the snake found for instance in ancient Egypt and Greece, where the snake was the grand protector and symbol for rebirth and renewal. Snakes shed their skin and therefore became symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing - all common characteristics of a deity. The snake alongside the bull and the bird represents one of the oldest mythical creatures and is known for its duality of good and evil. Alike the bull, the snake represents fertility and stands for life force. The phallic shape of the snake enhances this meaning and is an important reference for the design process.
To report inappropriate content, an infringement of copyright, or to report a problem on the Portfolio platform, please contact the Digital Team
Thank you, your feedback has been received.