Wim Wenders: Jerusalem Seen from the Mount of Olives

Wim Wenders

Jerusalem Seen from the Mount of Olives

In the photographic panoramas of Jerusalem taken by filmmaker Wim Wenders, the artist communicates his sense of the city as a place where past and present can be embedded in a single site. Wenders photographed a churned-up graveyard near the sacred burial sites of Mount Zion, location of King David's tomb, and a garbage dump close by the Mount of Olives, where Jesus met with his disciples. Natural forces and the passage of time have eroded historical memory, and the once spiritual, mystical sensibility of these sacred sites seems to have vanished.

"Jerusalem Seen from the Mount of Olives" invokes the traditional belief that Jews who have been buried on that site will be the first to rise from the dead with the coming of the Messiah. Were this to happen, the resurrected Jews would face a hill strewn with garbage and, on the horizon, the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. In "Jerusalem Seen from Mount Zion" a similar juxtaposition exists - the Tomb of King David, which is unseen in the photograph, overlooks the Al-Aqsa Mosque, showing the close proximity of two distinct traditions.

Wim Wenders (born 1945) lives in Los Angeles and Berlin
"Jerusalem Seen from the Mount of Olives", 2000 (Chromogenic print)
The Jewish Museum, New York; Purchase: Photography Acquisitions Committee Fund and Alice and Nahum Lainer Gift, 2004-62