Petzel Gallery displays Yael Bartana’s films, photos, and neon-text. The grand sound attracted me into the room, which was running a film. The air of tension caused by the Hollywood blockbuster sized screen and extensive ending credits triggered me to be curious of its production and process.
Inferno, the 22-minute film is run by super-high quality resolution and sounds majestic. The slow motion technique in film often arouses the sacrosanct atmosphere regarding religious ceremony, and simultaneously viewer’s strong absorption in the story. The citizens of Sao Paulo go towards a new excessive temple, the replica of an ancient church in Jerusalem to celebrate its inauguration. Three helicopters carry sacred golden relics towards the temple with people’s expectations, blessings, and wishes. After the divine starts the ritual, fatefully, the divineness becomes destroyed because of a conflagration and the temple is destroyed, like past tragedies of human history.
2014, LED light box with inkjet print on backlit film, 47.24 x 31.5 inch
I saw the emptiness of humanity in Bartana’s film. We know many historical remains come from past splendid and greedy cultures that had ended up going down to catastrophes. In the film, people enjoy talking about the tragedy, taking photos, and worshiping the debris that had become tourist attraction. Considering the destruction and the tourism, and the absurd and futile repertoire of human’s history, Bartana leaves a momentous resonance to the present age.
2013, Alexa camera transferred onto HD, 22 minutes