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Artist portraits (6): Yael Bartana
Frankfurter Rundschau | 03.06.2002
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++++ Yael Bartana may be known to the Frankfurt art public, since last summer she was represented in the exhibition New World in the Kunstverein with a work. On that occasion the Israeli artist, who is currently living in Amsterdam, showed a video of female Israeli soldiers at shooting exercises and juxtaposed the collective of the army and state to the individual. Bartana is interested in such questions as, How does an individual behave in view of the collective? How does an individual exist within prescribed structures without surrendering its own thinking and therefore itself?
At Frankensteiner Hof Yael Bartana presents the video installation Trembling Time. The viewer looks from an elevated standpoint at a stream of cars rolling by on a multi-lane expressway. The motion of the cars is shown in extreme slow motion and becomes even slower until it stops. The car doors open, the occupants get out and stand unmovingly next to their cars. As if in answer to a secret signal, they finally all climb back in and start driving again. The action is accompanied by a sound-mix of suppressed sirens, driving noises, squeaking brakes and an undefinable humming. Nothing else really takes place. And yet this description can only recount the effect very superficially. The sound hits you so bodily and after a while it in fact is hard to bear, so eery are the effects of the collective stopping, getting out, standing and resumption of driving. So remarkable, almost poetic do the moments of braking and driving off seem when it appears as if the cars would overtake themselves by emerging out of themselves.
Trembling Time was made at an overpass in Tel Aviv. It shows a minute of silence in memory of those who have fallen in the Israeli wars, to which sirens throughout the country call. Thus, on the one hand again, the state and the collective commemoration which the state prescribes, and on the other hand, individuals in their reactions to these orders. Yael Bartana says, "In today's political climate it is important to pose the question concerning whether these rituals strengthen the nation or whether they merely increase our loyalty to the state whilst at the same time undermining our ability to make an individual judgment".
Frankensteiner Hof, Rittergasse, until 25 August. jdv

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