Yael Bartana is a young and already prominent Israeli-born, Netherlands-based, video artist.  After completing her BFA in Israel, she received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and held a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam.  Since then, Bartana has traveled extensively, showing her work around Europe, the U.S., and in many film and video festivals. In January, 2004, Bartana was awarded the Wolf Foundation's prestigious Anselm Kiefer prize.

Bartana's residency at the JCVA, in December of 2002, followed her participation in Israel's first Video Biennale. During her stay she gave a lecture at the Sam Spiegel School for Film and Television, Jerusalem.  Bartana is a popular figure in the contemporary art scene and the students were very excited to meet her in person and hear her discuss her work.

Bartana spoke of her stay as most fruitful, both creatively and professionally. It was during this stay that she filmed the material she used for the acclaimed Kings of the Hill. In addition, she met with the director of the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, where the video was on exhibition during April of 2003.

Trembling Time

The widely acclaimed Trembling Time is an excellent example of Bartana's approach, which involves applying an outsider's perspective to the quintessentially Israeli phenomena she selects with an insider's familiar eye.  In Trembling Time, Bartana examines drivers' behavior during a one-minute siren on Israel's Memorial Day for Fallen Veterans. Standing on a bridge over one of Israel's most traveled highways, Bartana photographed drivers in the private but public act of stopping their cars to stand still for the minute-long remembrance ritual. Her seemingly technical decision to apply slow-motion photography to this moment creates conceptual depth, and sharpens viewers' awareness of the complexity of the situation.
Kings of the Hill

Yael Bartana filmed this intriguing video during her residency at the JCVA in December 2002. The work, which was later purchased by bothe the Tate Modern Museum in London, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, deconstructs a surreal, chauvinistic practice cultivated by Israeli drivers of massive all-terrain vehicles.  The men, sometimes accompanied by their sons, take their four-by-four-wheel drive jeeps and vans into sand dunes, where they drive into ditches and then make repeated attempts to drive back out. Bartana's video shows the vehicles standing upright, jutting out of the sunken holes they have driven into, and repeatedly attempting the climb back out.  Bartana exposes this little-known practice, filming it with a slow, seemingly romantic sunset in the background so that the men show up as silhouettes, stereotypes rather than individuals.