Joan Spain Gallery, first floor, Perelman Building
Buy Now & Save
Nationhood, belonging, memory Blurring fact and fiction, artist Yael Bartana reimagines historical narratives to spur a dialogue about urgent social and geopolitical issues of our time. This immersive exhibition presents her provocative film trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, which chronicles the radical vision of the fictional Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland. Taking the complexity of Jewish-Polish identity as a point of departure, the films speak to larger themes of nationhood, belonging, and memory. Outside the walls of the Museum, Bartana will realize a new site-specific public performance. Titled Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies!, the performance is a call to action that takes the form of a military funeral. Through a symbolic burial of weapons, she extends the concepts explored in her trilogy to the birthplace of American democracy—Philadelphia.
September 21, 2018–January 1, 2019 Joan Spain Gallery, Perelman Building This film trilogy recounts the radical vision of the fictional Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP). Created by artist Yael Bartana in collaboration with Polish activist Sławomir Sierakowski, the JRMiP advocates for the return of over three million Jews to their forgotten Polish homeland. Steeped in the histories of Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the conflicting Jewish and Palestinian rights of return, the three films in the trilogy use the real and the imagined to speak to global complexities in an increasingly unstable world.
In an abandoned stadium in Warsaw, the young leader of the JRMiP delivers a stirring speech calling for the return of Poland's lost Jews.
A group of idealist Jews heed the call of the JRMiP and return to Warsaw's Muranów neighborhood, where they construct a kibbutz (an Israeli communal settlement). Invoking the images and ideologies of the men and women who established the nation of Israel, they are depicted as pioneers, building and learning together.
Set in a not-too-distant future, the final film in the trilogy imagines the funeral of the leader of the JRMiP after his assassination. Through this symbolic death, the movement is unified.
Saturday, September 22, 2018 2:00 p.m.: Performance begins at Independence National Historical Park 4:00 p.m.: Performance resumes outside the Museum's West Entrance (Anne d'Harnoncourt Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19130) A symbolic burial and call to action Conceived by Yael Bartana, this public performance challenges systems of violence and displacement through a symbolic burial and a call to action. Forming a "living monument" to the end of violence, this performance includes a public procession, a burial of weapons (both literal and metaphorical), and a series of eulogies about war, peace, and democracy. Bringing together funerary tradition, military ritual, and personal testimony, Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies! deepens the artist's investigations of memory and national identity. The performance is inspired by the work of Israeli dance composer Noa Eshkol (1924–2007). More specifically, it evokes Eshkol's 1953 assembly performance at Kibbutz Lohamei HaGeta'ot (the Ghetto Fighters' Kibbutz), commissioned in memorial to the tenth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The movements are composed by Mor Bashan and Ruti Sela of the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group. This public performance is offered in conjunction with the exhibition .
Jennifer Abrevaya, Benjamin Behrend, Lesley Berkowitz, Julianna Boylan, Daniella Brown, Erin Carney, Taylor Cawley, Sebastian Cummings, Angie Fennell, Adrianna Jimenez Gonzalez, Dana Herbert, Anita Holland, Leah Holleran, Briannon Holstein, Matthew John Janis, Jung-eun Kim, Amalia Wiatr Lewis, Jacqueline Rose Libby, Emma Manion, Jaime Maseda, Kayla Simone McGill, Kevin Meehan, Rhonda Moore, Sarah Muehlbauer, Mphoentle Ndaba, Chloe Marie Newton, Hillary Pearson, Paige Phillips, Vitche-Boul Ra, Gabrielle Revlock, Matthew Rios, Roberto Rodriguez-Garcia, Nia Simmons, Andrew Smith, Margot Steinberg, Katherine Sullivan, Dwayne Townsend, Haylee Warner, Sarah Warren, and Emily White
Master of Ceremonies Olwen Fouéré, Parkway Center City Middle College student Simone Akridge, singer John Carr, Councilwoman Helen Gym, war veteran Michael Miller, professor Gil Hochberg, and community organizer Melissa Robbins
Yael Bartana (artist), Mor Bashan & Ruti Sela (dance composers from the Noa Eshkol Chamber Dance Group), Gila Kaplan & Avi Bohbot (graphic designers), Kierceton Keller (costume & props assistant), Daniel Meir (sound designer), Constance Mensch (photographer), Itai Neeman (cinematographer), Naama Pyritz (film producer), Ian Rose (prop weapons wrangler), Livnat Sela (assistant director), Samuel David Ben Shalom (set designer), Valerie Scarfone (props artisan), and Yael Shenberger (costume designer), Saskia Wendland, Itamar Gov, Esper Postmar, and Emil (Bartana Studio)
Thank you to all on-site mediators, volunteer participants, and outreach organizers, including Maureen Boland of Parkway Center City Middle College and Lovella Calica of Warrior Writers. A special thanks to the City of Philadelphia, Fairmount Park, Laurel Hill Cemetery, the National Park Service, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Production support provided by Natalia Rodriguez and Traction Company. Additional thanks to the staff of the Philadelphia Museum of Art who helped to bring this project to fruition, including Chelsea Sanz, Performance Production Coordinator. This exhibition and performance commission were organized by Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.
In her films, installations, photographs, and staged performances, Yael Bartana (born Israel, 1970) investigates subjects like national identity, trauma, and displacement, often through ceremonies, memorials, and public rituals. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, and is represented in the collections of many museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Tate Modern, London; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. She currently lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. Learn more about the artist on her website.
Major support for the exhibition Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned and the site-specific performance Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies! was provided by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional generous contributions from the Wyncote Foundation, the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Keith L.* and Katherine Sachs, Lyn M. Ross, The Arlin and Neysa Adams Endowment Fund, Maxi D, and Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz.
Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art