VENICE, Italy — Curated by Maria Veits and Yevgeniy Fiks, the Yiddishland Pavilion on the Venice Biennale doesn’t got down to imitate or characterize a discrete bodily territory. Moderately, the undertaking encapsulates an concept, or because the curators have acknowledged, “a linguistic and cultural house” shared amongst Yiddish-speaking communities which were dispersed and reconstituted world wide.
These seeking to uncover Yiddishland as a bodily exhibition website in Venice will subsequently be dissatisfied. As an alternative, Yiddishland on the Venice Biennale is a porous and generative undertaking that threads itself by numerous pavilions, whereas subtly undermining the nationwide logic of the biennale. Yiddishland will be present in various platforms consisting of each digital initiatives and non permanent performances and occasions, which function as unauthorized creative interventions among the many biennale’s conventional brick-and-mortar nationwide pavilions. For these unable to journey to Venice, the Yiddishland Pavilion’s web site gives full digital experiences and documentation, a shocking and welcome rarity throughout the post-Covid biennale panorama.
In an article for Hyperallergic in 2020, Fiks described a current revival of secular Yiddish tradition by the generations that grew up within the aftermath of World Battle II and the Holocaust; it’s these postwar generations, based on Fiks who “(re)discovered the Yiddish language and employed it for cultural manufacturing” as a way of embracing cultural roots that had been severed.
Lots of Yiddishland’s interventions search to get well marginalized or destroyed Jewish pasts. Hagar Cygler’s collected pictures carry collectively private narrative and nationwide historical past as they intersect by her household’s previous condo constructing in Lodz, Poland, whereas Zsuzsi Flohr’s video On the Floor, the Potentialities explores the intersections of Jewish and Roma tradition and historical past related the Shoah and the Pharrajimos.
Fiks’ personal undertaking for the Yiddishland Pavilion, Yonia Fain’s Map of Refugee Modernism, reveals the fascinating and little-known biography of the visible artist Yona Fein. The audio tour spreads throughout the pavilions of the quite a few nation-states through which Fein lived (explored partially two of the Yiddishland Pavilion assessment).
Different artists try to uncover the tales of underrepresented teams inside Yiddish-speaking communities. Shterna Goldbloom’s sequence Feygele takes the Torah scroll as a substrate to inform the tales of LGBTQI+ Jews. Whereas they’ve beforehand used handmade Torah scrolls to supply bodily objects, for the Yiddishland Pavilion, Goldbloom’s undertaking nearly unscrolls to disclose pictures and interviews.
Deriving from the Yiddish slur for homosexual in addition to a phrase that means little hen, Feygele tells the tales of 35 people who’re forging new paths between their conventional upbringing and their sexual and gender identities.
Construction and type of the written phrase are equally central to Ella Ponizovsky Bergelson’s contribution. On the German Pavilion, guests can scan a QR code to view an augmented actuality work by the Moscow-born, Jerusalem-raised, and Berlin-based artist, developed in collaboration with Anna Elena Torres.
What at first look appears to be like like a rotating mass of molten iron quickly turns into distinguishable as groupings of letters derived from three writing techniques — Yiddish, English, and an historic proto-Canaanite alphabet.
Impressed by the literary critic and anarchist Boruch Rivkin who coined the phrase Yiddishland, Bergelson’s work, titled Pseudo-territory, faucets into language’s mutability and inventive capability to disrupt boundaries and borders. This Yiddishland intervention pairs significantly nicely with the official fee for the German Pavilion, the place Maria Eichhorn bodily subverted and displaced the German nationwide presence, each by stripping again the constructing to its foundations and concurrently organizing a sequence of off-site occasions commemorating the historical past of anti-fascist actions in Venice throughout World Battle II.
Different initiatives grapple with pressing political realities, together with Schandwache, a gaggle that shaped to protest and shield dialogue across the defacement and potential elimination of an Austrian monument to Karl Lueger, the mayor of Vienna from 1897 to 1910 whose antisemitic views and insurance policies portended the rise of Adolf Hitler. Documentation of their intervention — bodily marking the monument as SCHANDE (shame) and retaining vigil towards the graffiti’s elimination by right-wing factions — will be seen on-line.
The Yiddishland Pavilion curators have additionally organized a broad vary of one-off applications and performances happening each nearly and on the biennale fairgrounds. One such efficiency, Jenny Romaine’s Vu Bistu Geven? (The place have you ever been?) passed off on-line on Might 26. Working with Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) collaborators, Romaine and her staff delved into Jewish and Kanien’kehá:ka storytelling strategies as a way to consider land and land use and discover the connection between Yiddish-speaking Jewish communities in Montreal and the legacies of settler colonialism. An abridged model of the two-year undertaking, Romaine’s lecture-performance, together with clips from the undertaking’s earlier iterations, is now out there on-line.
Like lots of the initiatives included within the Yiddishland Pavilion, Vu Bistu Geven? doesn’t discover Yiddish historical past and tradition in isolation, however as an alternative opens a dialogue to understanding how Yiddish tradition has and continues to narrate to the various locations through which it resides.
Yiddishland Pavilion occasions and initiatives proceed over the course of the 59th Venice Biennale, together with a video efficiency by Uladzimir Hramovich analyzing the tales of revolutionary Hirsch Leckert and sculptor Abram Brazier, and Ofri Lapid’s the “Shund” on-line studying session, specializing in early Twentieth-century Yiddish theater performs in Berlin. The pavilion was curated by Maria Veits and Yevgeniy Fiks.