Outset Netherlands has initiated the shared acquisition of The Missing Negatives of the Sonnenfeld Collection (2008) by Israeli-Dutch artist Yael Bartana by the Stedelijk Museum and Van Abbemuseum. The acquisition is a unique co-operation between a private fund and two public institutions of contemporary art, from which both public collections will benefit. The work, which was on display in Bartana’s solo exhibition …And Europe will be stunned at the Van Abbemuseum until 26 August 2012, fits in the collection of both museums and greatly increases the artist’s visibility in the Netherlands.
For The Missing Negatives of the Sonnenfeld Collection (2008), Yael Bartana selected photographs from one of the largest archives of historical images related to events in Israel during the 20th century.
With the help of young Palestinians and Jews currently residing in Israel, Bartana re-created the original pictures, taken by Leni and Herbert Sonnenfeld, and restaged the idea of the Zionist New Jew. The results reenact images deeply etched in Israeli collective memory and consciousness.
Bartana’s photographs reinstate the collection, as well as the narrative fostered by Beit Hatefutsot (Museum of the Jewish People, where the archive is now held), with the erased story of mixed ethnicity, introducing Palestinians into the establishment of the State. One is unable to tell the religious or ethnic affiliation of the photographed subjects – they are beautiful farmers, workers and soldiers looking into a future they hope to build together on the ruins of a bloody past.