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The Contemporary Dayton Presents Yael Bartana: The Undertaker, A Film Featuring a Choreographed Performance in Remembrance of The Holocaust

DAYTON (January 6, 2023) – The Contemporary Dayton (The Co), presents Yael Bartana: The Undertaker, a 60-min, film on view in The Co’s Jack W. and Sally D. Eichelberger Foundation Video Gallery, January 13-March 26, 2023.

The Undertaker chronicles an enigmatic leader and her followers during a choreographed procession and burial of weapons. Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, plays a prominent role as this group of dancers, war veterans, and activists move across the city’s historical landscape. Their procession and slow, deliberate gestures are grounded in the movements of Israeli dance composer Noa Eshkol, principally her 1953 ceremonial performance in remembrance of the Holocaust.

Focusing on life, loss, and the attempt to move through grief, The Undertaker is without dialogue, firmly focusing on the bodily and the physical. Rather than a memorial to the dead, Bartana’s symbolic burial is a monument for the living, an invitation to consider our bodies as both carriers of trauma as well as vehicles for hope and resistance.

The Undertaker also presents the progression in Bartana’s body of work which explores political movements and actions and tackles an array of possible scenarios through performance. The often public enactments link her various projects together in their investigation of potential future outcomes and historical realities and sum up the “historical pre-enactment”: experiments that make present seemingly impossible futures.

In The Undertaker Bartana posits a communal experiment to expand our political imagination and foster hope for future beyond our current social perimeters. It also highlights the current reassessment of historical social constructs and furthers the push against the mechanisms that shape our past and present. As such, the work does not merely portray a hoped-for reality, but lights the way forward.



In her films, installations, photographs, and staged performances, Yael Bartana (born Israel, 1970) investigates subjects like national identity, trauma, and displacement, often through ceremonies, memorials, and public rituals. Her work has been exhibited in museums worldwide including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Jewish Museum, Berlin; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Secession, Vienna; Tel Aviv Museum of Art; MoMA PS1, New York; São Paulo Biennial and Documenta 12, Kassel among many others. She has works in the permanent collections of Tate Modern, London; The Jewish Museum, New York; The Guggenheim, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw and The Israel Museum, Jerusalem among others. Bartana currently lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam.




  • Members Preview: 5–6 p.m.
  • Artist Talk with Becky Suss and Greer Pagano: 6:30-7 p.m.
  • Public Reception: 6–8 p.m.
  • Free admission. Donation bar and light bites.






  • Presenting Sponsor: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual
  • Arts Education and Program Partner: Dr. Robert L. Brandt, Jr.
  • Engagement Partners: The Susan Strong & Karen Spina Friends
  • Circle Production Partner: Mitosis
  • Creative Media Partner: Dayton Daily News
  • Hospitality Partners: Sueño & Tender Mercy Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Dayton

Annual operating support: Culture Works, The Dayton Foundation, The Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ohio Arts Council, The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, and Members.


ALSO ON VIEW / Jan 13-Mar 26, 2023

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Carmen Winant: The neighbor, the friend, the lover



Wednesday–Saturday 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Closed Monday and Tuesday




Mission: To provide art for the community and a community for artists.

Overview: The Contemporary Dayton (The Co) is the region’s contemporary art center. Established in 1991 as The Dayton Visual Arts Center, a 501c3, The Co produces and presents original exhibitions and educational programs, events, community partnerships, and artist opportunities. Exhibitions and education programs feature the most exciting and meaningful work of our time created by artists living and working today, with an emphasis on the artists of Ohio, women artists, and artists of color.

Annual operating support: Culture Works, The Dayton Foundation, The Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ohio Arts Council, The Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, and Members.