Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Israeli-Dutch art activist Yael Bartana adds dynamism to 7th Berlin Biennale

“I am focusing on Israel in order to ask: What is this place where I grew up?
“How long will this troubled nation continue to perpetuate this pattern of ignorance? By manipulating form, sound movement, I create work that triggers personal resonance. Personal, intimate reactions have the potential to provoke honest responses and perhaps replace the predictable, controlled reactions encouraged by the state.” Yael Bartana

7th Berlin Biennale curator Artur Zmijewski recently named Israeli-Dutch film artist Yael Bartana to sharpen the edges of the contemporary art happening: 28 April – 1 July 2012.

Untitled photograph by Artur Zmijewski

Bartana´s activism may outstrip her art but the two are inseparable.

As a non-violent activist, she has worked with the IsraeliCommittee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

In 2005, she helped rebuild a demolished Palestinian home in Jerusalem only to be blocked by authorities. 

Jerusalem does not issue building permits to Palestinians but continues selectively demolishing their homes.

She then visually documented summer camp for the ICAHD.

In Berlin she will expand promoting her project, “TheJewish Renaissance Movement in Poland” (JRMiP). It seeks returning about 3.3 million Jews to Poland.

Founded in 2007, JRMiP has grown internationally, according to Bartana. 

The JRMiP manifesto states: 

“We direct our appeal not only to Jews.

“We accept into our ranks all those for whom there is no place in their homelands—the expelled and the persecuted. There will be no discrimination in our movement.”

“We shall not ask you about your life stories, check your residence cards or question your refugee status. We shall be strong in our weakness."(Emphasis mine.)

Bartana said this project is a “response we propose for these times of crisis, when faith has been exhausted and old utopias have failed.

“Optimism is dying out. The promised paradise has been privatized.” (Emphasis mine.)

Her films, film installations and photographs challenge Israel´s national consciousness, according to Wikipedia. “Working outside the country, she observes it from a critical distance.”

Like Bartana, Warsaw-based artist-curator Zmijewski broke from fear and conformism.

“We were not so much taught as intellectually devastated. Truancy enabled me to dig myself out of the ideological dirt that we were in, together with anti-Semitism, which was accepted at my school,” he said during an April 2008 lecture series in Warsaw.

Curator Zmijewski asked 7,500 Open Call artist-applicants to submit statements on their political convictions by 15 January 2011. 

Jewish Renaissance Movement Poster

His Berlin Biennale intends packing political punch.

“So if we were to call critical art a social movement, it would represent a departure from the notion that art is apolitical,” he added.

“The artist should maintain a purity and freshness of view and the sensitivity of a child looking at the world with delight, because the world is beautiful and people are beautiful, despite the atrocities and despite what the media show. The child is a divine creature.”

The KW Institute for Contemporary Art organizes the event while the Kulturstifung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation) funds it, according to a news release.
Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler™

Experience a rewarding week-long mosaics or sculpture workshop, a  walking holiday or both in the mountains of Andalusia, only 40 minutes from the beach. See: www.spanjeanders.nl and www.competafinearts.com.

Moira Schepel, rear center, and one of her sculpture graduating classes, photograph by Stefan van Drake (2008)

Contact me at stefanvandrake@gmail.com or by calling (34) 951 067 703; from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

ArtTraveler Semana Santa, Palm Sunday, 17 April procession video, Canillas de Albaida.

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