QUESTIONS FOR FREUD AND HERZL
Performance accompanying Yael Bartana's exhibition Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum
Thursday, December 6, 2012, 8.15 pm and Friday, December 7, 2012, 5 pm approx. 45 mins.

Performer: Susanne Sachsse Live sound processing: Daniel Meir
Light design: Jackie Shemesh
Text: Gish Amit and Yael Bartana


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012


"Are we bound forever to remain suspended in the limbo of the endless issues of our identity?" This is one of the questions put to Theodor Herzl and Sigmund Freud during the performance accompanying the opening of Yael Bartana's exhibition Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum (If you will it, it is not a dream).

Here, Yael Bartana addresses the spirits of two pioneers, Sigmund Freud and Theodor Herzl who, in different approaches sought to bring redemption to the individual and to the collective – and whom she declares the spiritual gods of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), which she founded in 2007. The founder of modern psychoanalysis and the visionary of a state for Jews lived just a couple of houses away from each other on Berggasse in Vienna, yet their paths never crossed. Yael Bartana thus brings them together in her installation Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum – a temple of Utopia – to create a moment of collective consciousness and awake the ghost of history to hopefully get some answers.


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012


A fictional movement dealing with political imagination promoting social change is how Bartana describes the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP), which received international recognition with the film trilogy …and Europe will be stunned (Mary Koszmary (Nightmares), 2007, Mur I Wieza (Wall and Tower), 2009, Zamach (Assassination), 2011) at the Venice Biennale in 2011 where Bartana was invited to represent Poland. The movement's intent is clearly stated on their website, and highlights its utopian character: "3.3 million Jews can change the life of 40 million Poles. The founding wish of the JRMiP is to write new pages into a history that never quite took the course we wanted. We call for the return of 3.300.000 Jews to Poland to symbolize the possibility of our collective imagination – to right the wrongs history has imposed and to reclaim the promise of a utopian future that all citizens deserve."


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012


From the beginning of her work as an artist, Bartana has critically questioned the history and self-image of her homeland Israel, sometimes drawing heated reactions with her use of deliberately contradictory material and her charged visual idiom that borrows from political propaganda of all stripes, thus demanding from the spectators to question this language and its continuing allure in a new context. With Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum she is turning to Europe, specifically to Austria, asking if a return to the crime scene will bring us the hoped-for redemption?


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Installation view, Secession 2012


In May 2012, the first International Congress of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland took place in Berlin. As part of the Berlin Biennale, the following questions were discussed in front of an audience at the Hebbel-am-Ufer Theater (HAU1): How should the EU change in order to welcome the Other? How should Poland change within a re-imagined EU? How should Israel change to become part of the Middle East? In an open call posted on the website of the JRMIP the movement had invited any person to propose a solution. Eventually artists, sociologists, historians, critics, writers, and political activists contributed as delegates, proposing possible answers, and together with active participants to vote on these, thereby framing an agenda for the aims and direction of the JRMiP in future.


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012


The documentary film on the congress (110 min) is shown at the Secession for the first time in an environment that equally mirrors the setting in Berlin as it echoes the architectural layout of the Secession building, erected in 1898 as a "temple for art". Positioning the JRMiP between Freud and Herzl in a detailed chart full of biographical references and associative links presented in a light box, a neon sign quoting the exhibition title, arrangements of memorabilia and collectibles presented in vitrines (one may refer to them as shrines), Yael Bartana's installation Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum is ultimately and essentially a museum of the JRMiP.

"Can we continue to live the dream? Has our dream already transformed itself into a deadly illusion? Is it still possible to write history that has not yet been written? Answer immediately, or disappear from our memories for ever." These are some of the final questions put to Herzl and Freud in the performance.


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012


Catalogue

Yael Bartana

Yael Bartana
IF YOU WILL IT, IT IS NOT A DREAM / WENN IHR WOLLT, IST ES KEIN TRAUM

152 pages, Format: 165x222mm
Texts: Juli Carson, András Pálffy
German/English
Secession 2013
Distribution: Revolver Verlag
Available in the shop



Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012


ARTISTS TALK

A round table event with Yael Bartana and Juli Carson (in English)
Saturday, December 15, 2012, 6 p.m.

In an open conversation Yael Bartana and Juli Carson, Associate Professor in the Department of Art at UC Irvine, author of numerous essays on conceptual art and psychoanalysis, and author of the essay Art of the Impossible: The Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP) for the catalog accompanying Yael Bartana's exhibition (release date: January 2013) will talk about the current exhibition Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum [If you will it, it is not a dream].

The event is organized by the Friends of the Secession


Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012
Yael Bartana, Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum, Ausstellungsansicht, Secession 2012


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES
Born in 1970 in Kfar-Yehezkel (ISR), currently lives and works in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam. She studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, the School of Visual Arts, New York and the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. In 2011, Yael Bartana represented Poland for the 54th edition of the Venice Biennial.

Solo exhibitions among others at the
Moderna Museet, Malmö
Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
PS1, New York
Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
Kunstverein in Hamburg, Hamburg
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæck
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

She participated in the
7. Berlin Biennale (2012)
Sao Paolo Biennale (2010, 2006)
Documenta 12 in Kassel (2007)
Istanbul Biennale (2005.


MONOGRAPHS

2012
And Europe Will Be Stunned, exhibition catalogue published by Artangel; Ikon, Birmingham; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæck; Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven

2011
A Cook Book for Political Imagination, published by Polish Pavilion Venice Biennale, Berlin: Sternberg Press

2011
And Europe Will Be Stunned, published by Australian Center for Contemporary Art (cat.)

2010
And Europe Will Be Stunned, published by Moderna Museet, Malmö (cat.)

2008
Short Memory, published by PS1, New York (cat.)

2007
In the army I was an outstanding soldier, published by Fondazione March per l'Arte Contemporanea, Padua
Yael Bartana, published by Kunstverein Hamburg, Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz

2006
Yael Bartana, published by Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (cat.)



Installation views: Oliver Ottenschläger



The Secession is supported by:
Erste Bank – Partner of the Secession
Wien Kultur
Bundesministerium für Unterricht, Kunst und Kultur
Friends of the Secession

Yael Bartana Wenn Ihr wollt, ist es kein Traum supported by Mondriaan Fonds

Cooperation-, Mediapartners, Non-Cash Benefit:
Festool
hs art service austria GmbH
Der Standard
Ö1 Club
Schremser – Das Waldviertler Bier
Silver Server
Sound Production



YAEL BARTANA    LIZ DESCHENES    FIONA RUKSCHCIO




For further information and photographic material please contact:

Katharina Schniebs
Secession, Association of Visual Artists Vienna Secession
Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna
Tel: +43-1-5875307-21, Fax: +43-1-5875307-34
presse@secession.at