Yael BARTANA

At Media City Seoul 2010

Mary Koszmary (Nightmares) (2007)

one channel super 16 mm film transferred to video, 10 min 50 sec

Mur i Wieża (Wall and Tower) (2009)

video installation

Seoul Museum of Art, Gallery 1-G

Artist Profile

Born 1970; Lives and works in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam

Yael Bartana’s video work takes its subject matter from the history and society of her motherland, Israel. Based on the social, political, cultural, and historical features that have built today’s State of Israel, her work metaphorically expresses anxiety and fear about the lasting war and suggests the possibility of imagining a new country.

Mary Koszmary (Nightmares) and Mur i Wieża (Wall and Tower) are the first and second installments in a trilogy. Adopting the structure and aesthetic of the propaganda films of the 1930s, these videos investigate the complex historical and political relations among Jews, Poles, and other Europeans in the era of globalization.

Mary Koszmary begins as Sławomir Sierakowski, a Polish-left activist, enters a stadium in Warsaw. In this empty stadium overrun with weeds, he utters a provocative monologue aimed at the 3 million Jews who were victims of the Holocaust in Poland during World War II.

The second part of the trilogy, Mur i Wieża, is an answer to Sierakowski’s provocation. A group of young people in traditional Jewish costume return to Warsaw to erect a settlement on the site of the World War II-era Warsaw Ghetto, directly beside the Heroes of the Ghetto monument. While Sierakowski looks on, these young people, after finishing construction, raise from their new settlement’s central observatory tower a blood-red flag bearing a symbol that combines the Polish eagle and the Star of David.

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