Pigments | 2021
Adi Boutrous’ video performance is set in the Benedictine Monastery of Abu Ghosh, a structure built upon Roman ruins and the remains of a Crusader Church, which features twelfth century frescoes illustrating biblical scenes. The protagonists of the frescoes are faceless, their expressions damaged by the natural processes of time and by iconoclasts, who sought to erase the representation of religious symbols.The signs of erasure are the trigger for the performance: the absence becomes a motive for visual representation and documentation. The aesthetic staging of the three protagonists’ bodies, aims not to disrupt the setting but rather to engage with it.Their movements, as well as their pauses, convey the impression that they are immersed in a non-verbal exchange with the space and at times blend into it. Yet the dialogue between their bodies and the structure also strives to transcend the boundaries of the location’s specificity. To achieve this, the work’s soundtrack consists of long and constant sounds; a combination of religious tones, the results of the performer’s movements in the space, bodies interacting and the muezzin’s call to prayer from the nearby mosque. The narrative, rooted in the religious frescos and their location, receives as much attention as the physical interpretation of the historical processes that befell the monastery. The body serves as a medium that bridges between the physical and spiritual, the moments of contact providing tangible expressions of ethereal submission and intimacy.
The work is exhibited at the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery.