Rites of Return: Yael Bartana’s Polish Trilogy: And Europe Will be Stunned
Carol Zemel, Bildner Visiting Scholar
Professor of Art History and Visual Culture, York University, Toronto
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at Noon
Bildner Center, 12 College Avenue
Israeli video artist Yael Bartana’s, And Europe will be stunned (2008-11) calls attention to the layered identities and inter-dependencies of citizens in multi-cultural national environments—Poles and Jews, Israelis and Palestinians. As actions of of Bartana’s fictive Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, the trilogy opens with Mary Koszmary (Nightmare), a proclaimed call for Jews to return to Poland; part two ,Wall and Tower pictures Polish and Israeli youth building a utopian kibbutz in Muranow, once the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. The final episode, Zamach (Assassination), takes viewers to the funeral of the Movement’s leader and predicts that by Joining and implementing the cause “Europe will be stunned”
The three-part sequence builds on an intertwined metaphor of Jewish and Arab expulsions and imagined return. Each situation is provocative and, in the case of Poland, even shocking, as Jews are called to move on from Holocaust hatreds and grief. As aesthetic intervention, Bartana’s Trilogy replaces what have become facile certainties and idealistic fantasies with an unsettling and provocative ambivalence.
Full screening: 60 minutes