Nira Pereg’s new project ‘This Red Red Stuff’ is relevant as ever, and sadly prophetic. It is the first part of her REDemption trilogy–on view at Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Germany
Text taken from E-flux. For the full text, click here.
In accordance with her oeuvre, Pereg’s work titled This Red Red Stuff investigates the notion of expediting redemption. It sheds light on this timely phenomenon in religious thought from an unprecedented angle, examining its relation to our times.
In This Red Red Stuff Pereg examines how inexplicable ancient Jewish laws dominate current events and merge religious fundamentalism with political agendas. She takes us on a journey through her all-consuming creative process, echoing the inherent frustration in the search and desire for redemption, as she becomes her own beast of burden.
This Red Red Stuff strays from Pereg’s documentary tactics, by combining a semi-confessional position with a scholarly one, marking a paradigmatic shift in her mode of constructing a narrative. In merging utopian mediums such as 3D-animation with documentary footage, Pereg reflects on a seemingly esoteric phenomenon, which makes the bigger picture manifest.
When Israel gained political sovereignty over the Dome of the Rock in 1967, a status quo was established according to which Israel maintained sovereignty over the site, while it was run by the Jordanian Muslim Authority. Religious national groups from the Israeli political-theological landscape challenge this status quo in their dedication to the revival of complete Jewish sovereignty over the site. This nearly impossible task involves, constructing the Third Temple as a step toward expediting the messianic age. A prerequisite to performing the required sacrificial rituals in the Temple to be, involves abiding by biblical standards of purity requiring traditional Jewish priests to be cleansed of ritual impurity caused by contact with the dead. The sole means of such purification is to sacrifice a perfect red heifer and sprinkle its ashes over the impure individual. In this sense, the red heifer is the theological key to sovereignty over the Temple Mount. There are, of course, stringent requirements for raising and locating a perfect red heifer, of which there have only been nine throughout history. As Pereg observes this committed search for a contemporary candidate for a ritually valid red cow—locating and disqualifying heifer after heifer—she herself transforms in sharing this mutual obsession with her topic of investigation.
In Genesis 25:30 it is written, “And Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red red stuff for I am exhausted!’” Esau proceeds to exchange his invaluable status as the first-born son, for a red lentil stew. In the current Israeli political landscape, Jewish movements calling for the construction of the Third Temple on the site of the Muslim Dome of the Rock, base their claims for ownership on the same status of chronological precedence—“we were here first.” In appropriating the title from the historic exchange between Esau and Jacob, This Red Red Stuff references a biblical theme that remains relevant to this day, spanning a broad political spectrum worldwide.
Israel-based artist, Nira Pereg, creates video art that challenges the status quo of any territory in which she immerses herself. She anchors her work in documentary practice, developing her own “play on resolutions” by careful juxtaposition of image, sound and space. She often employs multi-channel works that “sterilize” events, and estrange them from their origin. This particular aesthetic intervention plays a crucial role in her work, and heightens a constant discomfort with “the way things are.” The merger of spirit and matter, as they coexist in public spaces of religious/political/military importance, serves as a platform for Pereg’s interest and involvement in the symptoms and social manifestations of structures that influence our lives.
The show lasts only three weeks as part of Planet 9, a cluster of exhibitions, performances, interventions, screenings, readings, and conversations at the Kunsthalle Darmstadt, curated by León Krempel.
Tue – Thu
By appointment only
11:00 – 16:00
11:00 – 14:00