Title: “In Statu Quo: Structures of Negotiation”
Commissioner: Miki Gov, Arad Turgeman
Curators: Ifat Finkelman, Deborah Pinto Fdeda, Tania Coen-Uzzielli, Oren Sagiv
Exhibitors: Ifat Finkelman, Deborah Pinto Fdeda, Tania Coen-Uzzielli, Oren Sagiv, Nira Pereg, David Polonsky, Roiy Nitzan
“In Statu Quo: Structures of Negotiation” explores the complex mechanisms of the Status Quo, which functions as an informal, if controversial and fragile, system of coexistence between rivals within shared holy places.
In the geopolitical context of the Holy Land, the combination of historical events, myths, and traditions have fostered the creation of a multiplicity of places that are sacred to competing religions, communities, and affiliations. These circumstances have in turn led to the formation of an extraordinary concentration of intricate spaces, fragmented and stratified both historically and physically. Because of their supreme religious importance, many of these places have become arenas of bitter struggle, yet they continue to operate through a delicate web of ongoing political negotiations and arrangements, formally established in the nineteenth century, that are known as the Status Quo. In Statu Quo serves as a platform to investigate how these agreements have regulated and transformed space, focusing on five major contested holy sites that encapsulate the spatio-political phenomenon of the Status Quo: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall Plaza, the Mughrabi Ascent to the Temple Mount / Haram al-Sharif / Al Aqsa (all in Jerusalem), Rachel’s Tomb (Bethlehem), and the Cave of the Patriarchs / Ibrahimi Mosque (Hebron/Al-Khalil). Each holds distinctive architectural features that have realigned political and cultural relations and changed the local landscape. Their highly and inevitably disputed territoriality over centuries has made them some of the most significant and challenging sites to reexamine within the context of the Holy Land and the Status Quo. In Statu Quo follows the processes, decisions, and actions through which monumental sites are shaped. It suggests not only the instrumental use of architecture to lay claims in the conflict but also its capacity to negotiate between different identities through spatial occurrences and programmatic possibilities.
- Conrad S. Schick, Model of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and surroundings, Jerusalem, 1862. photo Adi Gilad