6 Jun 2013

Yael Bartana …and Europe will be stunned

Yael Bartana, Zamach (Assassination), photo: Marcin Kalinski

Yael Bartana
…and Europe will be stunned

August 9 – September 25 2011

Yael Bartana’s acclaimed film trilogy, …and Europe will be stunned, currently showing in the Polish Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, will be shown at ACCA from 9 August.

Yael Bartana is the first non-Polish national to represent that country at the prestigious Venice Biennale, and her work, …and Europe will be stunned has been noted as one of the highlights of this year’s international presentations.

The work, through three films, traces the journey of the fictional Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, a political group that calls for the return of Jews to the land of their forefathers, and the crusade of the movement’s charismatic leader, left wing activist, Slawomir Sierakowski to revive his homeland.

The first film in the trilogy, Mary Koszmary (Nightmares), 2007, depicts Sierakowski as he stands in a deserted Warsaw stadium, passionately urging displaced Jews to return to Poland.

The second, Mur i weiża (Wall and Tower), 2009, shows a group of eager and devoted young Israeli’s responding to Sierakowski’s call, creating a kibbutz overnight in the former site of the Jewish Ghetto of Warsaw.

And in the third and final film, Zamach (Assasination), 2011, Sierakowski has been assassinated, and the charismatic leader is eulogized, mythologised and mourned and by hundreds of devoted followers.

Bartana’s trilogy references 1950s propaganda and melodrama films, and traverses a landscape scarred by the histories of competing nationalisms, bringing together the narratives of the Israeli settlement movement, Zionist dreams, anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the Palestinian right of return. It also leads the viewer into a state of uncertainly: is the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland a pure hallucination, an artistic project, or a concrete possibility for the future of Poland.

As Yael Bartana says. “This is a universal presentation of the impossibility of living together. These are mechanisms and situations which can be observed anywhere in the world. I quote the past, the time of Socialist utopia, youthfulness and optimism – when there was a project of constructing a modernist idea of a new world.”

Yael Bartana was born in 1970 in Israel. Her practice includes film, photography, video and sound installation. She has had numerous solo exhibitions, at PS1, New York, the Center for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv, and the Kunstverein in Hamburg, to name a few, as well as in prestigious group shows such as Manifesta 4, Frankfurt (2002) and documenta 12 in Kassel (2007). Whilst working in Israel, Bartana made works that focused on the impact of war, military rituals and the threat on everyday life. Since 2008 she has been working in Poland.

Yael Bartana, August 9 – September 25 2011.

MEDIA INFORMATION: Katrina Hall on 0421 153 046 or email
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank.
Gallery hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am–5pm. Weekends 11am-6pm. Mondays by appointment. Tel: 03 9697 9999. Admission: Free.