Rona Yefman & Tanja Schlander

Israel – Denmark

Rona Yefman was born in Israel and is an artist based in New York who works in photography, video and installation. Her work explores social, political and personal issues of identity through a range of human experiences by collaborating with individuals who have formed radical personas that inscribe the iconic and the absurd of our time. Since 1999, Rona has shown her work around the world. She received her BFA from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and her MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City.

Tanja Schlander works in Copenhagen in the field of sound art, montage, performing and noise, and is fascinated with radio and tapes as a medium. She has made sound montages for Denmark’s National Radio as well as pirate radio tours around Europe. She has performed at different underground art events in Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Berlin, Zürich, Tromsø, Malmö, Istanbul and Barcelona under the name TJ (Tape Jocky). In 2003, she founded the performance duo TWINS and Die Geilen Putzen, which has performed at major international events such as Dada Festwoche in Zürich and Salzburger Festspiele.

Pippi Longstocking, The Strongest Girl in the World

Video, 3’ 50”, with sound

In Pippi Longstocking, The Strongest Girl in the World, Rona Yefman takes on a geopolitical border. The video shows her collaborator – the artist Tanja Schlander – dressed up as a contemporary version of the character invented in the 1940s by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. With her bare hands, Schlander repeatedly attempts to dislodge the concrete wall that separates the West Bank from Israel. In doing so, she conjures the power of life by mining the traits of the fictional Pippi – that is, her uunconventional femininity, physical strength and indignation at injustice. Yefman’s video further reveals unanticipated encounters: local Palestinians encourage Schlander’s efforts to channel Pippi’s strength in the cause of peace.

The artists encourage you to watch the whole piece from beginning until the end and see Pippi’s development. also, note the surprising interactions she has with bypassers.

Screened at SF Kino.

Image: Rona Yefman and Tanja Schlander, Pippi Longstocking, The Strongest Girl in the World (2006), Video, 3’ 50”, with sound, video still. Courtesy of the artists.