Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation, the Israeli art prize 2009 / Shortlisted Artists
Prize Recipient: Nira Pereg
Nira Pereg: Mountain
The video work “Sabbath 2008", 2008, and the new project “Kept Alive”, 2009/10 (three channels HD video and 18 photographs), at the center of Nira Pereg’s (b. 1969) exhibition, use documentary materials filmed in Jerusalem: in the former – 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” 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.
Erez Israeli: Curing
The exhibition “Friday Night”, presented at Givon Gallery in April 2009, marked a turning point in the work of Erez Israeli (b. 1974): his dealing with death and bereavement turned from the Israeli military context to dealing with Germany, Europe and the Holocaust. The starting point for the current exhibition was a relatively marginal detail in that installation: a torso-like concrete casting in the shape of a Torah cover. The title of the current exhibition, “Curing”, is a term taken from the pre-retail stage of processing and curing fabrics, and is also used in other production areas, mostly in processing concrete. Indeed, the sizeable sculptural installation at the center of the new exhibition links structural architectural motifs with textile and text (Torah book), and is executed in various ways of processing concrete – a material Israeli has been using frequently since his early work.
Naama atsabar: Sweat
Naama Tsabar’s (b. 1982) exhibition space is inhabited by three components: two “sound walls” whose “building blocks” are home loudspeakers – walls that become, through the strings stretched along them, independent musical instruments; shelves with alcoholic drink bottles whose mouths are stuffed with coiled sheets that absorb their liquids by osmosis; and the video work “Untitled/Babies”, 2009, in which a female rock band performs with the artist as the soloist, a show that ends with the guitar being smashed against the stage floor, the stage falling apart (while the guitar remains unbroken), and an exhausted artist. The reversal of aggressive male rituals from the world of rock music and “Molotov cocktails” exuding intoxicating scents and arousing physical associations make “Sweat” an environment that transmits pleasure and violence whose end is a gradual decomposition/disintegration.
Jury: Prof. Mordechai Omer, David Neuman, Daniella Luxemburg, Ellen Ginton, Nathan Gottesdiener. Finals Judge: Catherine Grenier, National Museum of Modern Art, Centre Pompidou, Paris.