And Europe Will Be Stunned, Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s powerful and challenging trilogy of films made in Poland between 2007 and 2011, was presented by Artangel this summer in a special exhibition at Hornsey Town Hall.
Image by Marcus Leith 2012, commissioned by Artangel
Over 4,000 peole visited Hornsey Town Hall this summer to see And Europe Will Be Stunned, Israeli artist Yael Bartana’s powerful and challenging trilogy of films made in Poland between 2007 and 2011, which was presented by Artangel.
The trilogy begins with Mary Koszmary (Nightmares). A young politician makes an incendiary speech in Warsaw’s empty Olympic Stadium. He calls for the return of 3.3 million Jews to their ancestral homeland. Responding to the call, Mur i Wie¿a (Wall and Tower) shows his idealistic followers, the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), building a new settlement on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto. But the fences, barbed wire and a tower suggest an ominous future – a fear borne out in the final film in the trilogy, Zamach (Assassination). The politician lies in state, red and white roses on his chest, in Poland’s Palace of Culture. Struck down by an unknown assailant, he is grieved for by his wife, mourned and eulogised by members of the Movement.
As the trilogy unfolds it becomes increasingly unclear whether Bartana’s work is a fantasy, a hallucination or a nightmare. Her bold project blurs fiction and reality, connects traumatic pasts to worrying futures and opens up debates about nationhood and homelands in Europe and the Middle East. Who has the right to return? Who determines who belongs and who does not?
And Europe Will Be Stunned premiered to great acclaim in the Polish Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale. The Council Chamber and other spaces were used at Hornsey Town Hall to present the films and other materials associated with the project.