"Siege" is a series of works of art, environments and installations.
Its background story is the story of the falling of a fortified city in ancient times, accordind to photographs of Archaeological remains that were found in the Middle East.


Miriam Neiger's point of departure, as stated before, is the story of the siege of a fortified city in the ancient Middle East which is based on photographs of archeological remains and documentary evidence. The ten collages that serve as the thematic basis for the works do not focus on one particular city but, rather, combine bas-reliefs and other artistic representations found in Egypt, Assyria, Babylon or Eretz-lsrael. The collages present different stages of the story of the siege, beginning with the feeling of "Confidence and Security" of a city that lays its trust on its strong fortifications and the weapons at the disposal of its defenders. Miriam Neiger is not disposed at this point to work on the level of hidden symbols and motifs that reveal themselves slowly and gradually. Therefore, in the collage representing the weapons, she draws the spectator's attention to the double entendre that the word "weapon" has in Hebrew and to the connection between this feeling of confidence and male violence. The source for the collage depicting "Weapons" is an engraved handle of a sword depicting a battle between Egyptian and Mesopotamian soldiers dressed in loin girdles with swords covering their private parts. In the "Fight on the Gate" the weapons are directed at a feminine gate (in the respective model based on this collage the gate is even more clearly feminized). Other stages of the fighting include "The Fight Back", the "Allout Fight" and, eventually, "The Collapse" which is, as Miriam Neiger states, the point at which the human spirit collapses too. Images of captured soldiers led in chains by the victors are very popular in the ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian art; those serve as the basis for the "Capture" collage. The "Heap of Hands", derived from an Egyptian relief, is a pertinent reminder of the universality of war and its continuing actuality. In a broad temporal perspective, history hardly draws a distinction between winners and losers, and yet this has never deterred the winners from erecting a Victory Stele on which was carved the story of the victory: The last collage is named "The Winners and the Losers Wish to be Remembered", the implication of course being that none is the winner. These collages, as I pointed out before, have been used for the purpose of documentation - the works themselves do not function as archeological or historical reconstructions. In a text written for the exhibition, Miriam Neiger argues for the closing of a circle between the ancient artist, an historian of his time, and the modern artist. She maintains that we are still ruled today emotionally by the same feelings, fears and sensations that controlled man then, and thus she aims at interpreting freely the emotional experiences of the past using the language of modern art. She does not offer a model of primitivism of the kind found in Giacometti's art, for instance, which developed in relation to his ability to connect it directly to its primitive sources. Nor does she follow Picasso's endeavour during the formative years of Analytic Cubism to address himself to the formal solutions offered by African masks. She shows no sympathy even for the "Canaanite" orientation of Melnikov who searched for artistic roots in Assyrian or Babylonian reliefs. She does not attempt any of these, nor does she try her hand at anthropological reconstruction. Rather, she locates herself solely in our own period; any carrying over of formal contents from the archeological sources to the works is accomplished in terms of a modernist intuition, or perhaps post-modernist sensibility.

Prof. Haim Finkelstein From the catalog "Siege",
Avraham Baron art gallery, Ben-Gurion University, 1989