Yael Bartana: Competing Memories

This is an Archive of a Past Event

The acclaimed Israeli-born Berlin- and Amsterdam-based artist Yael Bartana weaves historical narrative into fictive settings as a call to audiences to acknowledge the energetic pull of the past on the will of the present. 

Bartana presents clips from her groundbreaking Polish trilogy, And Europe Will be Stunned (2007-2011), about the semi-fictive Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP) and it's first congress (2012); Inferno (2013), a provocative, cinematic epic set in Brazil, which features a somewhat excessive Temple of Solomon in São Paulo as her protagonist; and a current work in progress What if Women Ruled the World? The screening will be followed by a conversation with contemporary art curator Betti-Sue Hertz.

‏Yael Bartana’s films, installations and photographs explore the imagery of identity and the politics of memory. Her starting point is the national consciousness propagated by her native country Israel. Central to the work are meanings implied by terms like “homeland”, “return” and “belonging.”  Bartana investigates these through the ceremonies, public rituals and social diversions that are intended to reaffirm the collective identity of the nation state. In her Israeli projects, Bartana dealt with the impact of war, military rituals and a sense of threat on every-day life.

Between 2006 and 2011, the artist was working in Poland, creating the trilogy 'And Europe Will Be Stunned', a project on the history of Polish-Jewish relations and its influence on the contemporary Polish identity. Yael Bartana represented Poland for the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice (2011). Her project 'True Finn – Tosi suomalainen', dealing with national identity operating as a means of inclusion and exclusion, was presented at the IHME Festival 2014 in Finland.

Betti-Sue Hertz is a contemporary art curator who works at the intersection of critical visual culture and socially relevant issues. She recently launched a lecture series based on her Art and Social Criticism course, in Stanford’s American Studies Program. Hertz was the Director of Visual Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2008-2015; Curator of Contemporary Art at the San Diego Museum of Art, 2000-2008; and Director at Longwood Arts Project, New York, 1992-1998. Recent major exhibitions include A Special Curatorial Project with Rirkrit Tiravanija: The Way Things Go (2015); Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa, (2014); Landscape: the virtual, the actual, the possible? (2014); Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company 30th Anniversary Exhibition (2013); Dissident Futures (2013); Migrating Identities (2013); and Audience as Subject (2010/2012). She has been Visiting Faculty at the San Francisco Art Institute since 2011. 

Sponsored by the Millicent Greenwell Clapp Fund for Studio Art.

Image: Yael Bartana, Zamach (Assassination), 2011, video still, courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, and Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv