Yael Bartana’s films, installations and photographs explore the imagery of identity and the politics of memory. Her starting point is the national consciousness propagated by her native country Israel. Central to the work are meanings implied by terms like “homeland”, “return” and “belonging”. Bartana investigates these through the ceremonies, public rituals and social diversions that are intended to reaffirm the collective identity of the nation state. In her Israeli projects, Bartana dealt with the impact of war, military rituals and a sense of threat on every-day life.
Between 2006 and 2011, the artist has been working in Poland, creating the trilogy 'And Europe Will Be Stunned', a project on the history of Polish-Jewish relations and its influence on the contemporary Polish identity.
Yael Bartana represented Poland for the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice (2011).
Her project 'True Finn – Tosi suomalainen', dealing with national identity operating as a means of inclusion and exclusion, was presented at the IHME Festival 2014 in Finland.
And Europe Will Be Stunned is a trilogy of films that is part of The Artangel Collection. Since its initial presentation in 2012 the trilogy has been presented at Plymouth Arts Centre in 2012, at Art Exchange in Colchester in 2014 and at Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast in 2017.