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Yael Bartana

Profile, Israel, 2001

Video, 3 min

Courtesy of Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel-aviv

The weapon is stripped down, checked and secured ma’am!  The weapon is stripped down, checked and secured! That sentence is reiterated and echoed throughout Yael Bartana’s entire video work.

Women soldiers at firing practice, bearing the monotonous characteristic of precision, tension, weariness, obedience and dominance. Momentarily, the observer feels that he himself is on the firing line. Not accidentally, the angle is fixed and unchanging. This is not a progressively unfolding drama, but the work nevertheless contrives to enhance the sense of identification with the woman soldier and her uncertainties, and through her, to foster a critical regard of the robot-like system with its inflexible structure, and at ourselves.

Together with that, lurking in the background are acute questions regarding preservation of individuality within the military structure.