2014-5 | Jerusalem, London | Four Channel Video installation with Sound | Edition of 7+2AP
THE RIGHT TO CLEAN is a Solo exhibition at the Israeli Museum Ticho House, October 2015- April 2016.
Serving almost as a test-case of the Old City as a whole, these works reveal the individual rituals of visitors to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – among the holiest of Christian sites. Pereg focuses not on Mass or the Holy Fire Ceremony, but rather on private, less noticeable ceremonies, depicting the choreography created by the movements of the church workers, pilgrims, and tourists who fill the church each day, documenting their repetitive actions and small rituals. Even the nun who cleans the holy places with a cloth, cleaning fluids, broom, and dustpan is performing a ceremonious act. Her work routine together with the routine actions of the church’s visitors illuminate the site’s complex history, while also illustrating the status quo delicately maintained by the Christian sects who share control of the Church.
The works Clare, Surface, and Border walk the thin line between documentary and narrative. Though the materials are documentary, through the filming and editing techniques the viewer is removed from the concrete, becoming both audience and participant. The sound processing enhances this feeling: Pereg deletes the original voices and sounds, reconstructing instead a number of selected noises to create a new soundtrack which echoes in synchrony on the different screens. Francis, an additional work on display in the exhibition, follows a street artist in London who cares for the pigeons on the banks of the Thames, and offers a surprising secular counterpart to the nun cleaning the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Pereg’s work examines actions of faith in locations such as Jerusalem’s Meah Shearim neighborhood and The Cave of the Patriarchs, depicting these acts in terms of sanctity, faith, and sensuality, as well as the everyday, menial labor, and erotica, seeing in them a performative act. Just as the sites to which she is drawn have both spiritual and sociopolitical dimensions, so also do these works focus on the believers’ charging of inanimate materials – stone, tile, wood, and cement – with holiness. The reverence and sensual devotion expressed by the faithful to the Stone of Unction, caressing it with holy oil and cloths, are replaced at night by the dedicated work of the nun who wipes the stone clean with detergent in anticipation of another day of believers who view the stone as holy by virtue of its location. Text by Curator Timna Seligma