Yael Bartana “Trembling Times” at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
Yael Bartana explores individual identities and collective memory via video, film and photography. For more than fifteen years now she has been building up a prolific oeuvre oscillating between documentary, fictionalised versions of historical events, and political utopias.
From her earliest videos (Profile, 2000; Trembling Time, 2001) to such recent pieces as True Finn (2014), and including the monumental trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007–2011), with which she represented Poland at the 54th Venice Biennale, Bartana’s work betrays a fascination with ceremonies and social rituals, and with the role of the latter in the shaping of communities and individuals. Yet these works are at a far remove from any direct documentary mode; modelled on the aesthetics of ritual, they are above all performative creations the audience is won over by without realising it. Her films point up the fact that cinema is itself a ritual and that the camera, perhaps better than anything else, imitates ritual in its capacity to fetishise, to seduce and to draw us into the ceremony we are witnessing.
Trembling Times, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Switzerland, is structured around the trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, spotlighting the tensions that pervade Bartana’s oeuvre: between reality and fiction, pathos and irony, hope and despair, return and departure, nostalgia and the quest for a break with the past.
at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne
until 20 August 2017