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 MOUNTAIN | 2010 

Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation, the Israeli art  Prize Recipient 2009 

Nira Pereg: MOUNTAIN 

The video work “Sabbath 2008", 2008, and the new project KEPT ALIVE, 2009/10 (three channels HD video and KEPT ALIVE PORTRAITS - 18 photographs), at the center of Nira Pereg’s (b. 1969) exhibition, use documentary materials filmed in Jerusalem: in the former – SABBATH 2008 blocking the streets in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods to vehicles, using various blockades, as the Sabbath enters; in the latter – distribution of land and workforce in the crowded “real-estate” site of the Mount of Rest cemetery. The expression “reserved in life” which pereg poetically translated to the phrase "KEPT ALIVE" refers to burial plots that living people purchase for themselves. Both works deal with social rituals and with marking territories and boundaries in Jerusalem: between the sacred and the profane, between the living and the dead. The intensive soundtrack amplifies the ritual, repetitive effect of dragging the blockades and of digging in the stony earth – activities that determine the rhythm of the films.

Curator Ellen Ginton

: מנימוקי השופטים בפרס

נירה פרג היא זוכת פרס גוטסדינר לאמן ישראלי צעיר לשנת 2009, כך הכריזה היום שופטת שלב הגמר בתחרות, האוצרת הצרפתייה קתרין גרנייה, המכהנת כסגנית מנהלת מרכז ז'ורז' פומפידו בפריז. פרג גברה על האמנים ארז ישראלי ונעמה צבר, המציגים גם הם בתערוכת הגמר במוזיאון תל-אביב.
בנימוקיה לבחירה אמרה גרנייה כי "עבודת הוידיאו שיצרה נירה פרג עבור התערוכה מרגשת במיוחד. פרג בחרה לעסוק בנושאים טעונים ביותר מבלי לבחור בדרך הקלה של הפאתוס בהתמודדות עמם. במקום זאת, עבודתה מפגינה רגישות גדולה, המושגת דרך הדימויים המעודנים והקומפוזיציה של הסאונד המזוקק. סרטיה ניחנים באיכות דוקומנטרית ויכולים להתפרש כעדויות על החיים בישראל. אך האיכות הציורית של הדימויים, הדרך בה כל מסך מתקשר עם המסכים האחרים – ליצירת נוף כולל ומקיף, האזכורים הרבים ומראי המקום המעורבים, מעניקים לעבודה אופי אלגורי. מאפיין אחד שברצוני לשבח באופן מיוחד הוא הקישור של יצירת האמנות בין חוויה אינדיבידואלית מקומית וידע אוניברסאלי".

Ket Alive


2009/10 | Jersualem
THREE channel synchronized Video  

*Kept Alive (a literal translation from Hebrew שמור בחיים ) refers to the text engraved upon headstones to reserve pre-purchased burial spots. The custom arose from bureaucratic necessity, but grew to function as a popular charm to ensure a healthy and long life for the purchaser.

2009-10  |  Three Channel Demo of kept alive  |  22 min 49 sec.loop > Edition of 7+2AP

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2009-10  |  DIGGER  |  One Channel Video  |  22 min 49 sec.loop > Edition of 7+2AP

KEPT ALIVE  focused on Jerusalem’s largest cemetery-”Har Hamenuchot” (Mountain of Rest). Filming on location for seven month, the project documentary approach investigates intersections between the living and the dead as well as observe the hierarchy on site-a work place divided into employees (jews) and workers (Palestinians.). The multi-channel video installation reconstructs the mountain, in which all the cemetery’s conflicting processes occur simultaneously.The work’s sound is also artificially constructed, sampled from various sources and pieced together in a studio. The almost-real, re-choreographs the Mountain of Rest, isolating gestures and movements, giving them new roles. Departing from Pereg’s observation of the KEPT ALVE signs, spread around the empty plots of the cemetery, he site acts as a junction, not only between life and death, but as a work place, divided into employees (jews) and workers (Palestinians.). Through Pereg’s gaze, the construction and maintenance of the graves becomes an everyday performative event. The multi-channel video installation reconstructs the mountain so that the cemetery’s conflicting processes occur simultaneously. Although the work focuses on the life which takes place at the cemetery, the minimalistic artificially constructed sound isolates amplifies the omnipresent sense of emptiness, vacuum like atmosphere, which dominates the site.

Click here to for KEPT ALIVE PORTRAITS.


MAKERS: Editing & Filming: Nira Pereg | Sound design : Nati Zeidenstadt | Post: Tal Korjak

Kept Alive P


2009/10 | Jerusalem

Kept Alive Portraits  {a literal translation from Hebrew שמור בחיים}

refers to the text engraved upon headstones to reserve pre-purchased burial spots. The custom arose from bureaucratic necessity, but grew to function as a popular charm to ensure a healthy and long life for the purchaser. Kept Alive Portraits is an on going archival project, which documents these numerous markers, prepared and placed individually on the reserved plots. These markers are evidence of ownership, and function as actual portraits of individuals who are alive, but already posses a territory in the land of the dead.

MOUNTAIN: KEPT ALIVE & SABBATH 2008- Installation View at the Tel-Aviv Museum GOTTESDIENNER Winner 2010



2008  |ONE Channel  7 min 13 sec.loop  | Edition of 7+2AP

The work SABBATH 2008 documents the closing down of the ultra-orthodox neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem on the eve of the Sabbath in the year 2008. The inclusion of the year in the title of the work suggests an archival perspective, reinforced by pereg’s declaration to produce a new version every 10 years.  Thus SABBATH 2008 is a photographic ritual by itself, a ritual preceding the event which proceeds the religious ritual.


In most parts of Jerusalem, public access to the ultra-orthodox neighborhoods is blocked by means of temporary barriers, which stay put for 24 hours – thus creating an artificial border between these areas and the rest of the city. The barriers are put in place by neighborhood residents, with the approval and support of the Jerusalem municipality and the police. Once the barriers are erected, no cars are allowed into Jerusalem’s ultra-orthodox neighborhoods. The city is thus topologically transformed into two cities – with and without cars. Although the value of these somewhat rickety barriers may appear above all symbolic, their presence is a source of friction and conflict; they delineate a clear-cut boundary between the sacred and the mundane.

Filming & Editing: Nira Pereg 

Sound design : Nati Zeidenstadt  |  Post: Tal Korjak

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exhibition history
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the constant, monotonous physical labor that goes into caring for the dead. On one hand this speaks to the importance of tradition and memory in Israeli society. On the other, it reminds us that the houses of the dead are not so different from those of the living – built, cleaned and maintained by an otherwise invisible underclass.

Programma Magazine

a conversation with Boris Groys

GLZ Radio: Heb

Interview on Radio with Yaron Vilensky

NiraPereg_GLZ interview
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

Medium Religion: Faith, Geopolitics, Art 
by Boris Groys (Author), Peter Weibel (Author)
Paperback – February 28, 2010
Publisher : Walther König, Köln (February 28, 2010)
Language : English
Paperback : 230 pages
ISBN-10 : 3865606040
ISBN-13 : 978-3865606044
Item Weight : 2.15 pounds
Dimensions : 7.91 x 0.84 x 10.07 inches
The religious movements of today no longer depend on the handselling of literature such as bibles, pamphlets etc, but instead operate predominantly with electronic picture media such as video and television that can be disseminated much more widely, and which are capable of enormous rhetorical impact. Medium Religion approaches religion as a media phenomenon, whose expressions are subject to the same laws of reproduction as any other consumer entity, and focuses particularly on geopolitical religious hotspots like the Middle East, Asia, Russia, North America and South America. It contains commentary by (among others) such notable thinkers as Boris Groys, Peter Sloterdijk and Slavoj Zizek; contributing artists include Adel Abdessemed, Oreet Ashery, Maja Bajevic, Paul Chan, Omer Fast, Barbad Golshiri, Kajri Jain, Vitali Komar, Alexander Kosolapov, Nira Pereg, Dorna Safaian, Anri Sala, Michael Schuster, Wael Shawky, Joshua Simon and Jalal Toufic.
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