Using video, film, installation and photography, Yael Bartana explores the shaping of individual identities and of collective memory. Born in 1970 in Kfar Yehezkel, in Israel, she now divides her time between Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and Berlin. In works mingling documentary with fictional versions of historic events – and even political utopias – she addresses the rituals and ceremonies used to construct and affirm the concepts of a native land and of belonging to a place, a land, a nation.
Her exhibition in Lausanne revolves around the trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007–2011), with which she represented Poland at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. The trilogy focuses on the history of Judeo-Polish relations and its influence on Polish identity. There is an uncanniness about these works, whose blend of reality and fiction conjures up the very real demons of history and its contemporary ramifications. Constructed like propaganda films of immense poetry and power, they offer new approaches to thinking about the world and maybe even changing it.