[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he exhibition ‘… and Europe will be stunned’ is composed of three video installations by the Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana. This is the first time in the history of Polish participation in the Venice Bienalle that a non-Polish artist is representing Poland.
The film trilogy by Yael Bartana includes Mary Koszmary (Nightmares) from 2007, Mur i wieża (Wall and Tower) from 2009 and Zamach (Assassination) from 2011, which deal with the activities of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, a political group created by the artist, which aims to the return over 3 million Jews to the land of their forefathers. The films are set in a symbolic space scarred by ethnic conflicts and wars, weaving together numerous narrative strands, including the Israeli settlement movement, Zionist dreams, issues of anti-Semitism, the Holocaust and the Palestinian right of return. The essential goal of Bartana’s project is to establish the foundations for a real socio-political movement.
“This movement is as real as the need for a utopia in our depoliticised society. This idea is real in inasmuch as the necessity to change present-day attitudes towards ‘the other’, especially in a society as homogeneous as Poland. If that could be done, it doesn’t matter if 3 million Jews were to return to Poland or not. It is all about potentiality”, Slawomir Sierakowski, the editor-in-chief of Political Critique.
“This film simultaneously escalates and destroys the ideas of nationhood, messianism, death and hero cults. Maybe what was needed was an invite to someone from outside Poland to study the Polish character and deconstruct it”,Dorota Jarecka in Gazeta Wyborcza.
With one religion, we cannot listen.
With one colour, we cannot see.
With one culture, we cannot feel.
Without you we can’t even remember.
Join us, and Europe will be stunned!
(from the manifesto of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland)
Yael Bartana is an award-winning visual artist. Her works often refer to the situation in Israel and to the wider context of Jewish identity. She is also art director at Political Critique. Its latest issue, The Ghosts, presents her latest work, invoking the idea of Polish-Jewish ghosts wandering aross the Polish landscape, still seeking release.