Review

Yael
Bartana

In the IBB-Video Space

Works by the Israeli artist Yael Bartana express the relationship between personal responsibility and collective action. Her videos, installations and photographs combine documentary aspects with poetic alienation and investigate the role of images in spreading ideologies.

The artist explores how rituals and festivals foster identity and how symbols can represent and manipulate ways of thinking. Recent works address patriarchy as a form of control, questioning existing power structures and challenging binary definitions of male and female.

„Pardes (Orchard)“, 2014, 71 Min.

This film documents a journey by an Israeli artist to the Amazon rain forest in Brazil. Although the protagonist is a sceptic who rejects all organised religion, he is on a constant quest for deeper meaning. Guided by the local shaman Dona Francisca, he undergoes an Ayahuasca ritual and drinks a psychedelic potion. Dona Francisca belongs to Santo Daime, a syncretic religious movement founded in Brazil in the 1930s. It fuses elements from different traditions, including Catholicism, Spiritism, animism and indigenous shamanism. “Pardes”, a reference to Jewish exegetic tradition in the study of the Torah, is a film about trust and about the desire to obtain deeper insights and immerse oneself in one’s own being.

Biography

Yael Bartana (1970, Israel) studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, and the School of Visual Arts, New York. Her works have featured at many exhibitions, including at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2018); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015); Secession, Vienna (2012); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2012); Moderna Museet, Malmö (2010); MoMA PS1, NY (2008), and also group exhibitions such as the Bienal de São Paulo (2014, 2010, 2006); Berlin Biennale (2012); documenta 12 (2007); Istanbul Biennial (2005) and Manifesta 4 (2002). She was the winner of Artes Mundi 4 (2010). Yael Bartana lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin.

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