From 26 April 2021, the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) will present Yael Bartana – Redemption Now. This large-scale solo exhibition of the contemporary artist Yael Bartana investigates the power of imagination and art’s redemptive potential. For more than twenty years, Bartana has been inquiring into grand historical narratives that help to constitute national and other collective identities. Curators: Dr. Shelley Harten und Dr. Gregor H. Lersch.
The show brings together more than fifty early and more recent works, including video installations, photographs, and neon works. The exhibition follows an eschatological topos—the recurring idea that a leader may bring salvation—and its deconstruction. At the core of the show is the commissioned video work Malka Germania (Hebrew for “Queen Germania”), which Bartana conceived for the Jewish Museum Berlin and produced at historically charged locations across Berlin. An androgynous savior figure comes to the German capital. Her journey floods the city with scenes from an imagined collective unconscious; past and future merge in an alternative present. The installation’s theme of collective redemption addresses traumata, hopes of salvation, and the desire for change.
Yael Bartana’s works have been exhibited worldwide and form part of international collections. She is known for exploring the visual languages of identity and memory politics, nations, and social movements. Yael Bartana observes, documents, dissects, and reinvents public rituals, ceremonies, and social practices that are intended to build collective identities. Her art provokes an activist viewing—asking visitors to engage in the political act of reflecting on their responsibility in society.
Bartana’s best-known work, And Europe Will Be Stunned, is included in the show. This video trilogy, created between 2006 and 2011, imagines a movement of three million Jews returning to Poland. It represented Poland in the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, and in 2019 the UK paper The Guardian ranked it ninth among the twenty-first century’s most important artworks.
Yael Bartana was born in Israel in 1970 and currently lives in Amsterdam and Berlin.
A book on the key exhibit will be published to mark the exhibition: The Book of Malka Germania features over 60 images (some full-page) and contributions by Michael Brenner, Griselda Pollock, Cas Mudde, Christina von Braun, and others.
The video installation Malka Germania is a specially commissioned work and was made possible by the Friends of the Jewish Museum Berlin, the Mondriaan Fund and Jan Fischer (Light Art Space).
The exhibition is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media and by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds.
WHEN? Monday, 26 April to Sunday, 10 October 2021, daily 10 am to 7 pm
WHERE? Jüdisches Museum Berlin, (Jewish Museum Berlin), Old Building, 1st Floor, Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
COSTS? 8 EUR, reduced 3 EUR, free admission for children and young people (under 18)