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2012 | The Cave of the Patriarch / Ibrahim Mosque, Hebron, West Bank
Two channel synchronized Video installation 

     Nira Pereg's interest in the economy of spaces belonging to a sacred sphere, in visualized paradoxes, in the transitory within the eternal, and the profane inside the sacred, led her to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.  In Judaism, it is considered to be a most sacred site, second only to the Temple Mount. The Cave of the Patriarchs, or the Ibrahimi Mosque, is also revered by Muslims. Since the Baruch Goldstein Massacre in 1994, in which Muslim worshippers were murdered and injured, the cave has been physically divided so that Jewish and Muslim worshippers are strictly kept apart within the shrine.

After the massacre, the Israeli government assigned a special committee to issue protocols to allow for time and space sharing of the site. The work Abraham Abraham Sarah Sarah follows one of these protocols.

     Ten times a year, in accordance with special holidays and under close Israeli military control, the cave passes hands for 24 hours only, enabling each side to have full use of all the chambers of the cave. Abraham Abraham and Sarah Sarah are two videos that follow a unique event of a temporary "change of hands". The work Abraham Abraham follows such a "switch" on the occasion of a Muslim holiday in July 2012. In a matter of hours, the Jewish area is cleared out of all Jewish artifacts, inspected by the army and stands vacant for a few short moments before the Muslims enter with their own artifacts and turn the empty rooms into a mosque for the next 24 hours.

     The work Sarah Sarah mirrors such "switch" on the occasion of a Jewish event at the cave. Similarly, the Muslim area is cleared out of its artifacts, inspected by the Israeli army, and within a few hours the Jewish believers enter with their own artifacts and turn the empty rooms into a synagogue for the next 24 hours. Filmed months apart, these two works closely reflect each other. They have the same length and the same symmetrical structure, pivoting on the opening of the door connecting/separating the two spaces. Abraham Abraham and Sarah Sarah depict the two sides of these unique periodical events. These temporary evacuations by no means attest to religious coexistence. On the contrary – they are the product of religious intolerance. In fact, half of each work shows the closing down, locking in, concealing, dragging, and blocking of furniture and religious objects. Not even a chair is left for the use of the rival faithful. The simultaneity of the works’ soundtracks when viewed together underscores this power struggle. In order to accentuate this counterpoint, Pereg had decided to eliminate all human presence from the soundtrack. There are neither sounds of footsteps, nor voices. Only inanimate objects produce noise. In both films, Pereg focuses on hastily evacuated spaces that build up anticipation for the imminent takeover. In these distended moments, time and space sway between earthy conflict and spiritual elevation. 

Makers: Editing: Nira Pereg  |  Filming: Yossi Shalev | Sound design : Nati Zeidenstadt  |  Post: Tal Korjak


2012  | abraham abraham - Jewish > Muslim |  One Channel Video | 4 min 10 sec. loop > Edition of 7+2AP

2012  SARAH SARAH Muslim > Jewish |  One Channel Video | 4 min 10 sec. loop > Edition of 7+2AP


2012| Consecrated Spaces

By: Sergio Edelstein

From the exhibition catalog Nira Pereg: “All this can be reconstructed elsewhere”

Publishers: The Center for Contemporary Art at the Rachel & Israel Pollak Gallery, Tel Aviv | Centro da Cultura Judaica.

Nira Pereg in “Abraham Abraham and Sarah Sarah”        By: Nathalie Desmet

ESSE magazine-“Religion” edition, Nathalie Desmet reviews Nira Pereg’s work ABRAHAM ABRAHAM SARAH SARAH :  “Pereg depicts the reality of a mechanic unconscious linked to religion… By isolating the gestures and movements, by orchestrating sound and image, Pereg offers a different reading of religious reality”.

The receiver of Prix Maratier ward 2013 |
The Fondation Pro mahJ, Paris, France.
Publisher: Éditions Musée d’art et d'histoire du Judaïsme. October 2014
Soft Cover: 64 pages
Language: English & French
ISBN : 978-965-7463-18-5
Dimensions:  17.5 x24 cm
Design by: Michael Levin
  • Paul Salmona, directeur du Mahj: Nira Pereg - Prix Maratier 2013

Download the book

דוברת: ד“ר יוכי פישר, חוקרת דת וחילון, מכון ון ליר בירושלים

מאמרה המלא של דר. יוכי פישר

״מערת המכפלה בעבודותיה של נירה פרג״ 2017

מכון ון ליר כנס - מעבר לגבול ולדמיון: קולנוע תיעודי, ריבונות וזיכרון | צילום, קדושה וריבונות | ד“ר יעל שנקר

הקרנת עבודות הווידאו־ארט של נירה פרג ”אברהם, אברהם" ו"שרה, שרה״ ו״ישמעל״.

שתי יצירות וידאו ארט שבהן מוצג תהליך שינוי בעלות זמני של 24 שעות של אולמות התפילה במערת המכפלה ממסגד לבית כנסת (שרה שרה) ומבית כנסת למסגד (אברהם אברהם). שתי היצירות זהות באורכן, בקצבן ובמבנה הסימטרי שלהן ומעלות שאלות על מוקדי השליטה המניעים את המרחב כולו. ביצירה "ישמעאל" נירה פרג חוזרת לחברון ועוקבת במשך יום אחד אחר חמש קריאות המואזין לתפילה ("אד'אן"), וחושפת בפנינו את הצורה שבה בירוקרטיית השליטה על המרחב הדתי נפגשת עם היסטוריה פוליטית וריטואלים דתיים דיון בעקבות ההקרנה: יו“ר: ד“ר אסף תמרי, אקדמיית פולונסקי, מכון ון ליר בירושלים.

דוברת: ד“ר יעל שנקר, בית הספר לאמנויות הקול והמסך

המכללה האקדמית ספיר ואוניברסיטת פלורידה

A talk between Nira Pereg and Yishay Rosen-Tzvi | Heb

פרופסור ישי רוזן-צבי, פרופסור חבר בחוג לתרבות עברית באוניברסיטת תל אביב ועמית מחקר במכון שלום הרטמן בירושלים מדבר על עבודותיה של נירה פרג.

Prof. Ishay Rosen-Zvi is a Senior Research Fellow of the Kogod Research Center at the Shalom Hartman Institute. He has a doctorate in Jewish philosophy from Tel Aviv University where he is a lecturer in the Department of Hebrew Culture; teaching Talmudic literature and culture. 

Tate Modern, England

Israeli Museum, israel

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Drake, Wassenaar. Netherlands

Princeton University Art Museum, USA

Private collections


  • The Tel Aviv Museum of Art | Israel


  • The Israeli pavilion at the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice | Italy


  • Reciver of Prix Maratier -La Fondation promahj le musée d’art e d’histoire du judaïsme, Paris | France

  • Recurrence', The Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre | Cyprus


  • Israel Museum, Jerusalem | Israel


  • CCA, Tel Aviv | Israel

  • Centro Da Cultura Judaica, São Paulo |Brasil




Haaretz: Heb

״אי שקט״: התערוכה הרלוונטית היחידה שמוצגת עכשיו

Haaretz: Eng

Armageddon at the Israel Museum

Nathalie Desmet

Nira Pereg  ABRAHAM ABRAHAM SARAH SARAH February 19, 2015

“Pereg depicts the reality of a mechanic unconscious linked to religion…

By isolating the gestures and movements, by orchestrating sound and image,                  Pereg offers a different reading of religious reality”.

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