Yael Bartana Interview: Returning 3,3 Million Jews to Poland


Israeli artist Yael Bartana talks of the ghosts of history and of how you only realize the manipulation you have been through once you step outside the system: “The sense of community is so strong, that people will die for their nation,” the artist says.

Yael Bartana (b.1970) is an Israeli video artist who explores central questions of ‘Homeland’, ‘Return’ and ‘Belonging’ in films which challenge the national consciousness that are propagated by her native country Israel: “There is a need to understand if the borders of nations can be crossed, if we can cut of our national identity or not.”

In this interview Bartana talks of her Polish trilogy ‘And Europe Will Be Stunned’ a series of films that examine 19th and 20th-century Europe as a historic homeland for Ashkenazi Jews. Bartana collaborated with the Polish leftist Sławomir Sierakowski, who performed a commanding yet poetic political speech addressing an empty, derelict Decennial Stadium in Warsaw: “Let the 3 million Jews that Poland has missed return to Poland, to your country! Heal our wounds and you’ll heal yours and we’ll be together again.”

Yael Bartana was interviewed by Michael Juul Holm at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in 2011.

Camera & editing: Sonja Strange.
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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