Exhibition Lecture: Yael Bartana

Please join us for a lecture by Yael Bartana, marking the opening of the exhibition Love in a Mist: The Politics of Fertility, which will be on view in the Druker Design Gallery from October 28 – December 20, 2019. The lecture will be followed by a reception in the gallery.

Yael Bartana’s films, installations and photographs explore the imagery of identity and the politics of memory. Her starting point is the national consciousness propagated by her native country, Israel. Central to the work are meanings implied by terms like “homeland”, “return” and “belonging”. Bartana investigates these through the ceremonies, public rituals and social diversions that are intended to reaffirm the collective identity of the nation state.

In her Israeli projects, Bartana dealt with the impact of war, military rituals and a sense of threat on every-day life. Between 2006 and 2011, she has been working in Poland, creating the trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, a project on the history of Polish-Jewish relations and its influence on the contemporary Polish identity. The trilogy represented Poland in the 54th International Art Exhibition in Venice (2011).

In recent years Bartana has been experimenting and expanding her work within the cinematic world, presenting projects such as Inferno (2013), a “pre-enactment” of the destruction of the Third Temple in São Paulo, True Finn (2014), that questions the national Finnish identity, Simone The Hermetic, a site-based sound installation which takes place in future Jerusalem, and Tashlikh (cast off), a visual meditation that gathers personal objects linked to horrors of the past and the present. Her latest work, What If Women Ruled the World is an experimental performance which combines fictional settings and real life participants, setting up a particular forum for action while exploring possible alternatives to a world dominated by men.

 

Love in a Mist: The Politics of Fertility explores several evolving narratives on the spaces and politics of fertility, triggered by the “heartbeat bill,” which recently passed into law in states such as Mississippi, Kentucky, and Georgia to criminalize abortions from as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The exhibition explores society’s quest to control women and nature, and the resulting environmental degradation. It brings together issues such as the historical use of synthetic hormones in women’s bodies; measures to super-size farm animals and domesticate plants; and techniques to accelerate fertility and extract natural resources.

From the treatment of women’s bodies to the exploitative human relationship with nature, Love in a Mist examines spaces of fertility including abortion clinics, artificial wombs, court rooms, farmed landscapes, and swamps, as extrapolated from diverse accounts and imaginaries by scholars, activists, legislators, ecologists, biologists, artists, and designers.

Contributors and artworks in the exhibitions include: Portable Abortion Clinic and Drones by Rebecca Gomperts and Women on Waves, What If Women Ruled the World by Yael Bartana, Don’t Mess with Texas by Lori Brown, Uncertain and Complex Systems by Desiree Dolron, Bodies of Steroids by FAST, Sounds of Extinction by Bernie Krause, Sugar Walls Teardom by Tabita Rezaire, and Womb by Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL). The exhibition is curated by Malkit Shoshan and generously supported by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York, as part of the Dutch Culture USA program.

*Love in a Mist or Nigella sativa is a purple flower with black seeds. The seeds are known for their diverse health benefits for the heart, brain, and liver. It is also said that in ancient times they were used to help regulate fertility or induce contraction of the womb and abortions.

 

This program is supported as part of the Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the events office at (617) 496-2414 or events@gsd.harvard.edu.