Monday, February 1, 2010

Kept Alive: New work by Nira Pereg

Kept Alive is a three-channel video and photo installation focused on Jerusalem's Mountain of Rest Cemetery. The installation's documentary approach is employed to address the enormous cemetery's three primary activities: construction, burial, and visitation.

art ritual death

Kept Alive Video Installation

Filming on location for a full year, artist Nira Pereg investigates intersections between the living and the dead. The cemetery is one of Israel's largest, however, burial grounds are precious and expensive, due to geographic location and general lack of space. Despite the site's intense density, with just over 10 inches between graves, it is still possible to purchase and reserve plots.

Photographs of reserved graves

A selection of photographs documents numerous markers placed on the empty, reserved graves, presented as portraits of their purchaser. Each stands for a living individual offering the means to occupy territory in the land of the dead.

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. Through the almost-real, Pereg re-choreographs the Mount of Rest, isolating gestures and movements, giving them new roles, and providing a range of perspectives on how the living cohabitate with the dead.

Jewish art ritual death

The buzz of activity at Mountain of Rest

Kept Alive (a literal translation from Hebrew) 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.

Jewish cemetery ritual death art

Artist Nira Pereg

Kept Alive is being shown at Shoshana Wayne Gallery in Santa Monica through February 27, 2010. For More information, contact:

Shoshana Wayne, 2525 Michigan Ave. B1, Santa Monica, (310) 453-7535

To read the LA Times article on the show, visit

Or visit the Artist's website at:

1 comment:

Monika said...

Fascinating... Liked the Times review, as well.

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