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This first monograph dedicated to the work of Yael Bartana (lives and works in Amsterdam, Berlin, and Tel Aviv) gives a comprehensive overview of the artist’s films, installations, performative projects, photographs, and sound works of the past 15 years.

From Bartana’s early video vignettes to her most recent project "What if Women Ruled the World?" (2017), by way of her monumental trilogy "And Europe Will Be Stunned" (2007–2011) with which she represented Poland at the 54th Venice Biennale, the book highlights the artist’s fascination with the ways in which social rituals shape both individual identities and collective memory. Far from a mode of direct documentation, Bartana’s works are themselves modeled on the aesthetics of the ritual, and are therefore, above all, performative works, which unapologetically seduce us. Her films draw attention to the fact that cinema is a ritual, and that the camera, perhaps better than any other device, mimics the ritualistic in its ability to fetishize, seduce, and draw us into the ceremony we are watching.

Essays by Emmanuel Alloa (Research Leader in Philosophy at the University of St. Gallen and Lecturer in Aesthetics at the University of Paris 8-Saint Denis), Nora M. Alter (Professor of Comparative Film and Media at Temple University, Philadelphia), Juli Carson (Professor at the University of California, Irvine, Director of the Critical and Curatorial Studies Program and The University Art Galleries) and Gil Z. Hochberg (Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at UCLA), and an extensive interview with the artist by Erika Balsom (Senior Lecturer in Film Studies and Liberal Arts at King’s College, London) offer new insights into Bartana’s practice.

Publisher: JRP Ringier with the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, 2017

Language: French and English

Softcover: 160 pages

Dimensions: 9.25 x 11.25 inches 

ISBN: 978-3-03764-492-8


About the artist

Yael Bartana (b. 1970, Kfar-Yehezkel, Israel)

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 of Israel. Central to the work are meanings implied by terms like “Homeland”, “Return” and “Belonging”. Bartana investigates these terms 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 deals with the impact of war, military rituals and a sense of threat to everyday life. In 2006, the artist worked in Poland to create projects on the history of Polish-Jewish relations and its influence on the contemporary Polish identity. In 2011, Yael Bartana represented Poland for the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice.

Inspired by a Jewish custom in which sins are cast into the sea, Tashlikh (Cast Off) (2017) serves as a platform for both perpetrators and survivors of various genocides or ethnic persecutions to confront their personal material links to the horrors of the past.

Bartana has had numerous solo exhibitions including Cecilia Hilllström Gallery, Stockholm (2022); Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (2021); the Jewish Museum, Berlin (2021); Galleria Rafaella Cortese, Milan (2020); Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam (2019); Volksbühne, Berlin (2018); Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture (2017); Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (2017); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2014); Secession, Vienna (2012); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2012); Moderna Museet in Malmö (2010); the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2009); MoMA PS1, New York (2008); the Kunstverein in Hamburg (2007) and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (2006). She has also participated in such prestigious group shows at James Cohan Gallery, New York (2020); the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2018); São Paulo Biennial (2010 and 2006); documenta 12, Kassel (2007); among many others. She is a winner of numerous prizes and awards: Artes Mundi 4 (Wales, 2010); Prix Dazibao (Montreal, 2009); Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation Israeli Art Prize (2007); Dorothea von Stetten Kunstpreis (Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2005); Prix de Rome (Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, 2005) and the Anselm Kiefer Prize (2003).

She has works in the permanent collections of Tate Modern, London; The Jewish Museum, New York; The Guggenheim, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen, Switzerland; Van Abbe Museum, Netherlands; and Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands, among others.