Magazine article Artforum International

Yael Bartana: Petzel

Magazine article Artforum International

Yael Bartana: Petzel

Article excerpt

Yael Bartana

PETZEL

At once persuasive and complex, Yael Bartana's films and videos come off as more than mere intellectual exercises. Seeking to directly effect social change, Bartana enlists the services of actors and nonactors alike, whether for documentaries, as in her recent analysis of Finnish identity, True Finn, 2014, or for works that collapse fact and fiction, as in Inferno, 2013. Her latest New York exhibition featured both these videos, which allude, like her previous output, to the various "demographic threats" ongoing in the world; the thorny question of citizenship, of being a body that matters, has always been paramount in Bartana's practice.

Inferno--which premiered in Miami and later toured biennials and festivals in Sao Paulo, Berlin, and Sydney--riffs on a replica of Solomon's Temple currently under construction in Sao Paulo by a neo-Pentecostal congregation, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God. The baroque twenty-two-minute film, a cinematic spectacle teeming with fire, brimstone, and lots of great costumes, addresses a salient reality through what Bartana has called a "historical preenactment." Though a fecund work, Inferno has already received an ample amount of ink, and the newer piece deserves more consideration.

Commissioned last year by Helsinki's annual Ihme Contemporary Art Festival, True Finn was presented simultaneously in January and February at Petzel in New York, Capitain Petzel in Berlin, and Sommer Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv. The fifty-minute documentary-cum-reality-TV project began with a single, seemingly simple question: Who is a true Finn? (And thus, by extension: What is a Finn? What counts as Finn?) Eight Finnish residents of differing ethnicities--including individuals born in Somalia, Japan, and Estonia--were selected via an open call to live together, Real World style, for a week in an idyllic woodland setting. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.