Yael Bartana: The Book of Malka Germania; Edited by Shelley Harten, Gregor Lersch
She Is Hope. She Is the Leader. She Is the Messiah. She Is History. She Is Fake. The video artist Yael Bartana (b. Kfar Yehezkel, Israel, 1970; lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin) makes work that explores the visual language of identity and the politics of commemoration. The critical scrutiny of collective expectations of political or religious salvation is a central concern in her art. In the video installation “Malka Germania”—Hebrew for “Queen Germany”—Bartana creates alternative realities from the German-Jewish past and present that bring scenes of the collective unconscious to light. The publication follows the epiphany of Malka Germania, a female redeemer figure, in five chapters whose layout is modeled on that of the Talmud, the central text in Rabbinical Judaism. This organization reflects the polyphonic complexity, rich nuance, and ambivalence that the work casts into visuals and underscores that there is no simple answer. The book includes an interview with the artist and contributions by Sami Berdugo, Christina von Braun, Michael Brenner, Max Czollek, and others. It is published on occasion of the exhibition Yael Bartana—Redemption Now at the Jewish Museum Berlin.
Year first published: 2021