PRINT October 2010


A pickax and a spade, a spade,

For and a shrouding sheet;

O, a pit of clay for to be made

For such a guest is meet.

WHEN HAMLET ASKS THE GRAVEDIGGER, “Whose grave’s this, sirrah?” he receives the answer, “Mine.” Nira Pereg’s three-channel video installation Kept Alive, 2009–10, filmed at Jerusalem’s Mountain of Rest cemetery (Har Hamenuchot) and shown earlier this year at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, similarly asks: Whose grave’s this? In Jerusalem, the question is ominously political. Metal striking rock. What harder sound? A narrow grave in stony ground. What tighter spot? The Mountain of Rest is crowded. Graves lie less than a foot apart. The gravedigger must be deft to squeeze in another soul. But death goes on, and so must the digging. The mountain must be moved. Kept Alive records the daily rituals of the workers whose task is to keep the traditions of death alive by making and tending

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.