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Artangel announces Yael Bartana. And Europe Will Be Stunned

Artangel presents Yael Bartana. And Europe Will Be Stunned, on view 22 May–1 July 2012.

And Europe Will Be Stunned, Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s powerful and challenging trilogy of films made in Poland between 2007 and 2011, will be presented by Artangel this summer in a special exhibition at Hornsey Town Hall in London’s Crouch End.

Yael Bartana, And Europe Will Be Stunned, 2007–2011. Zamach (Assassination) image by Marcin Kalinski, courtesy of Artangel

The trilogy begins with Mary Koszmary (Nightmares). A young politician makes an incendiary speech in Warsaw’s empty Olympic Stadium. He calls for the return of 3.3 million Jews to their ancestral homeland. Responding to the call, Mur I Wieża (Wall and Tower) shows his idealistic followers, the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), building a new settlement on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. But the fences, barbed wire and a tower suggest an ominous future—a fear borne out in the final film in the trilogy, Zamach (Assassination). The politician lies in state, red and white roses on his chest, in Poland’s Palace of Culture. Struck down by an unknown assailant, he is grieved for by his wife, mourned and eulogised by members of the Movement.

As the trilogy unfolds it becomes increasingly unclear whether Bartana’s work is a fantasy, a hallucination or a nightmare. Her bold project blurs fiction and reality, connects traumatic pasts to worrying futures and opens up debates about nationhood and homelands in Europe and the Middle East. Who has the right to return? Who determines who belongs and who does not?

And Europe Will Be Stunned premiered to great acclaim in the Polish Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Artangel’s London exhibition will also include a series of talks exploring themes that Bartana addresses in her films.

Zamach (Assassination) was commissioned by Artangel; Ikon, Birmingham; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk; Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture; Netherlands Film Fund; Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and Zachęta National Gallery of Art. –

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