Maja Bajevic, The Prayer, 2003, five-day performance, in situ video installation.
Exhibition view: Le Opere e i Giorni, Monastery of San Lorenzo, Padula, Italy (Curator Achille Bonito Oliva), 2003.


The Prayer

The performance took place in a monk’s cell at the Monastery of San Lorenzo. Each cell consists of two rooms. The audience was only allowed to enter the first room; the door to the adjoining room, where the performance took place, was slightly open but blocked. In the first room there were two closed-circuit monitors transmitting the performance. One monitor showed only the heads of the performers, the other monitor only the legs. I started the performance on my own. On the four walls of the performance room I wrote prayers from the four monotheistic religions: Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox and Islamic. I prayed continuously, changing after each prayer the religion’s external signifier: a star of David, a Greek Orthodox cross, a Roman Catholic cross, and a chador.

The next day two other women joined me. The day after, two more women joined us. On the fifth day we were nine women praying different prayers at the same time. I wanted to show the imprisonment of exclusive religious thought. The resulting confusion and noise of the performance showed the impossibility of living with only one world and one prayer.