And Europe Will Be Stunned: Excerpts

Mary Koszmary (Nightmares), 2007

A young activist, played by Sławomir Sierakowski (founder and chief edi­tor of Krytyka Polityczna mag­a­zine), deliv­ers a speech in the aban­doned National Stadium in Warsaw. He urges three mil­lion Jews to come back to Poland. Yael Bartana: ‘This is a very uni­ver­sal story; as in pre­vi­ous works, I have treated Israel as a sort of a social lab­o­ra­tory, always look­ing at it from the out­side. These are mech­a­nisms and sit­u­a­tions which can be observed any­where in the world. My recent works are not just sto­ries about two nations — Poles and Jews. This is a uni­ver­sal pre­sen­ta­tion of the impos­si­bil­ity of liv­ing together.’

Mur i Vieża (Wall and Tower), 2009

The sec­ond film in the tril­ogy Mur i wieża (Wall and Tower) was made in the Warsaw dis­trict of Muranów, where a new kib­butz was erected at actual scale and in the archi­tec­tural style of the 1930’s. This kib­butz, con­structed in the cen­tre of Warsaw, was an utterly ‘exotic’ struc­ture, even despite its per­verse reflec­tion of the his­tory of the loca­tion, which had been the Jewish res­i­den­tial area before the war, and then a part of Warsaw Ghetto. The film invokes pre­vi­ous heroic images of strong and beau­ti­ful men and women who myth­i­cally estab­lished Israel. Bartana: ‘I quote the past, the time of Socialist utopia, youth­ful­ness and opti­mism — when there was a project of con­struct­ing a mod­ernist idea of a new world.’

Zamach (Assassination), 2011

The Artangel-commisioned film Zamach (Assassination), the final part of the tril­ogy, which had its pre­miere at the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice, takes place in not too dis­tant a future, dur­ing the funeral cer­e­mony of the leader of the Jewish Renaissance Movement, who has been killed by an uniden­ti­fied assas­sin. It is by means of this sym­bolic death that the myth of the new polit­i­cal move­ment is uni­fied — a move­ment which can become a con­crete project to be imple­mented in Poland, Europe, or the Middle East in the days to come.


And Europe Will Be Stunned
22 May - 1 July 2012
Hornsey Town Hall
Crouch End, London [Map]