Yael Bartana  Abracadabra

Poster design, 2020-2021

The Abracadabra spell was used throughout history in magical gestures and performances. The mysterious term “Abracadabra” first appears in the writings of Serenus Sammonicus, a medical savant who served as physician to several Roman Emperors. In his book, Liber Medicinalis, Sammonicus suggests a literary amulet against fever and malaria: the word “Abracadabra” written in the form of a triangle. Though the etymological origin of the word is unclear, it may well have derived from the Hebrew “Evra KeDavra”, literally meaning “I shall create with the use of speech”, a reference to the creation of the world, accomplished – as described in the Hebrew Bible – merely through the use of words.