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Yael Bartana: Malka Germania at UAG

January 29 - April 9, 2022
Contemporary Arts Center Gallery
Curated by Juli Carson

The University Art Galleries is please to present the American Premiere of Yael Bartana’s three-channel video installation, Malka Germania, originally commissioned by the Jewish Museum Berlin in 2020 as part of Yael Bartana’s retrospective exhibition, Redemption Now. The large-scale immersive installation – filmed and projected at the highest cinematic quality – features an androgynous female “messiah,” who flushes Berlin’s “fears, dreams, repressed traumata and memories onto the surface,” as Jewish Museum curators Shelley Harten and Gregor H. Lersch describe. “Malka Germania” is Hebrew for “Queen Germany,” while “Germania” alone simultaneously connotes the historic megalomaniacal Nazi vision of the city of Berlin. As with Bartana’s film trilogy and Europe will be stunned – which also made its American premiere in the University Art Galleries in 2011 – the hard distinction between such oppositions as past/present, trauma/utopia, villain/victim, amnesia/memory, and precarity/stability have a moebius quality, as if in a dreamscape. A film evoking the “End Days” – produced over the course of 2020 when the “apocalyptic” convergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US-presidency elections and the Black Lives Matter protests all converged – gives Malka Germania both its timely and uncanny value. As global politics have given rise to a renewed battle between democracy and autocracy, the idea of a savior rising to thwart the horror of totalitarian regimes has startling resonance. But, as Bartana’s fever-dream vision forewarns, be careful what you wish for!

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