Four Angels (Homage to Max Adolph Warburg), 2019
Neon, 185 x 150 cm | 72,8 x 59 in.
Four Angels by Yael Bartana is a variation to an unpublished sketch made in 1930s by Max Adolph Warburg, the son of Dr. Aby Warburg, and described as “Four Angels Freeing The Swastika from Its Hooks”. It was – as it seems – a spontaneous reaction to the general fear of thriving nationalism in Germany of the beginning of the thirties, with his family having a Jewish background. The neon is based on his sketch which consisted of a swastika being cut off by four angels, only that in his original sketch, the angels cut the outer sides of the swastika, thus making a cross out of it. In the new neon, the angels don’t create any kind of religious emblem as an answer to Fascism, they simply dismantle the Nazi symbol. Paying an homage to Warburg, this “alarm signal” comments on our contemporary reality of thriving Fascism and Nationalism around the world, suggesting ways to react while placing a call for an action.