Hirshhorn Museum Presents “Black Box: Nira Pereg”
Curator: Kelly Gordon
Washington, D.C 2011
August 22 to December 4, 2011
Nira Pereg (Israeli, b. Tel Aviv, 1969) creates documentary-based video works that transform quotidian actualities into dramatic scenarios. This Black Box presentation featured 67 Bows (2006), a work inspired by visits to the Karlsruhe Zoo, where Pereg studied a flock of flamingos. Employing various camera angles, the artist offers sumptuous close-ups of these exotic animals calmly going about their instinctual business. Over the muffled noise of the birds’ squawks and clucks, she adds a provocative, sporadically timed soundtrack, implying disturbing human intrusion into their peaceful realm and evoking a sense of suspense and heightened apprehension among viewers, who must question the relationship between what they see and what they hear.
The New York Times: Eng
Flamingos, Up Close and Personal by Ntalie Angier. Aug. 22, 2011
Christmas several years back, Nira Pereg, a video artist from Tel Aviv, decided to seek distraction at the Karlsruhe zoo.She wandered into a glass-enclosed aviary and began watching the zoo’s flock of lesser flamingos, Phoenicopterus minor, with their foamy orangesicle plumage and their thick, bent bills the color of a bloodstain. Ms. Pereg was fascinated, practically stapled in place. She’d never really watched flamingos before, and she quickly discovered that whatever vague impression she’d had of them since childhood hewed about as closely to the truth as a pink plastic lawn ornament. The real birds are not peaceful, gentle or dainty. They’re not swan-necked stage props for a palm tree. If you want a relaxing vacation on the beach, your postcard to the flamingos back home should say, “Glad you’re not here!”
“They’re very communal, and they deal with each other all the time, fighting, picking on each other,” Ms. Pereg said. “They’re much ruder and noisier than you think, the opposite of the flamingo cliché.” All of which guaranteed, she said, “that I loved them even more.”
Ms. Pereg spent 10 days filming the flamingos at the Karlsruhe zoo from every possible angle. She got to know the birds, and they her. She wore the same clothes every day, and so did they. She studied their routines and became familiar with their moves.
Now they paraded forward, now they all marched aft. Now they shot up their necks like periscopes and twisted their heads first left, then right. They flashed the black petticoats of their underfeathers in single- and double-winged salutes. They moonwalked on water, raised a spindled leg balletically, from dégagé position to arabesque. They honked like indignant Canada geese and rasped like didgeridoos.
Ms. Pereg played games with the flamingos, and through trial and error devised gestures they would respond to in a predictable, even anticipatory manner. “It was really like a dance, or the writing of a poem,” she said. “We trained each other.”
Later, she edited days’ worth of film to a spare six minutes and added a startling soundtrack, of a gun periodically being cocked and fired; the resulting video, “67 Bows,” has just opened at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum.
Ms. Pereg’s piece is a work of art, not a documentary film, yet it is born aloft on the mad en masse majesty of flamingos, the dazzling speed with which they synchronize their watches and coordinate their fates " Read more...
The Washington Post: Eng
‘67 Bows’ video by artist Nira Pereg presents pretty and disturbing metaphor for violence
Flamingos Duck for Cover in the Hirshhorn’s New Black Box Installation
Express, September 2011
“Birds of a Feather Dance Together,” Jessica Roake (PDF)
A conversation with Black Box artist Nira Pereg and associate curator Kelly Gordon. Recorded October 4, 2011
Publisher: Tel Aviv Museum of Art. March 2011
Soft Cover: 170 pages
Language: English & Hebrew
ISBN : 978-965-91706-0-9
Dimensions: 27 x19 cm
Shipping Weight: 1 KG
Design by: Nadav Shalev
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