Yael Bartana

'The Undertaker' acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Yael Bartana's film 'The Undertaker', from 2019, has been acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Debuted at Bartana's show 'The Graveyard' at Capitain Petzel in 2019, the film stages a public collective funeral of weapons in Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy.

The Undertaker follows an obscure figure as she leads her swarm of armed followers in a ceremonial march on the way to perform a mass burial ritual. Carrying a variety of weapons from different times, the choreographed group strides through numerous historical locations in the city center of Philadelphia, eventually being guided by their leader to the burial site in Laurel Hill cemetery in which they dispose of the weapons. Rather than a memorial to the dead, the group creates a human monument for the living, linked up with ghosts of the past. The performance is based on a choreography by the Israeli movement-composer Noa Eshkol (1924-2007) from 1953.

December 15, 2020
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