Yishay Garbasz

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Yishay Garbasz (born 1970, Israel)[1] is an interdisciplinary artist who works in the fields of photography, performance and installation.[2] Her main field of interest is trauma and the inheritance of post-traumatic memory.[3] She also works on issues of identity and the invisibility of trans women.[4][5]

She studied photography with Stephen Shore at Bard College between 2000 and 2004.[6][7]

Garbasz received the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship in 2004/2005.[8] She has lived in Berlin since 2005, and has also lived in Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Israel, America and England.[9]

Despite having suffered epoxy poisoning in 2014, from which she developed occupational asthma and chronic lung problems, she is also Germany's first trans woman triathlete.[10] Garbasz has learned to write at the age of 25 at Landmark College.[11] She is also an out lesbian.[12][13]

Notable works[edit]


In her piece In my Mother's Footsteps[14][15] the artist explores her inherited traumatic memories from her mother's Holocaust experiences. For the project, the artist visited every single place her mother's life touched during that period. The project consisted of an exhibition (Tokyo Wonder Site,[16] 2009, Wako Works of Art,[17] 2009, and Busan Biennale 2010[18]) and a book. This book was nominated for the German photo book prize in 2009.[9] As of June 2017, the project had never been shown in Germany.[9]


In her project Becoming, Garbasz explores her own body and the changes in her body one year before to one year after her gender affirmation surgery through the creation of a human-scale zoetrope.[19] That project was also a flip book published in 2010[20] by Mark Batty Publisher. The project was also included in the Busan Biennale 2010.[21][22][23] She was awarded the Berlin Woman Filmmaker of the Year award for this.[24]


In "Eat Me Damien," Garbasz looks and pokes fun at the predatory practices of both the art world and world commerce. In this work the artist puts her testicles removed during gender clarification surgery in a fish tank with formaldehyde, reminiscent of Damien Hirst's shark. Shown at Seven at Miami Art Fair.[25][26] Garbasz has stated that she always planned to use the genitals in some way, and that this particular idea won out due to its title.[27]


In the Number Project Garbasz brands herself with the Auschwitz number of her mother. In the same location and size, she photographed her arm as well as herself over the month as the flesh almost heals. This is a social project looking to link the number after her mother's death to daily life in order to create a link with the past and not lose something that was forming in her mother's life.[28]


Ritual and Reality explores the trauma from the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. Color photographs and videos (each a 9 to 12 minute single take) are accompanied by an audio guide that describes Garbasz's three-week journey through the Fukushima exclusion zone in 2013 as well as the more general consequences of the nuclear disaster.[29][30]


Severed Connections: Do what I say or they will kill you is an exploration of how fences as physical barriers create fear that allows governments to manipulate their people.[31] This work was exhibited at the Ronald Feldman Gallery in New York in 2015.[31] It centers around her travels to Korea, Belfast, and the West Bank where warring groups' close proximity is only separated by such barriers. She used a combination of photography, video, and sculpture for the exhibition.[32] In an interview Garbasz says that the fences are about "othering" and that "the less contact you have, the easier it is to make the other a monster," hearkening back to her personal struggles as a trans woman.[27]


  1. ^ Great Women Artists. Phaidon Press. 2019. p. 148. ISBN 978-0714878775.
  2. ^ "Collecting the lost pieces of a soul | The Japan Times". japantimes.co.jp. May 2009. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  3. ^ "Walking Into Conflict: Trans Woman and Visual Artist Yishay Garbasz on Chronicling Trauma | Eliza Steinbock". huffingtonpost.com. May 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  4. ^ "10 Transgender Artists Who Are Changing The Landscape Of Contemporary Art". huffingtonpost.com. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  5. ^ ""We have to think intersectionally"—Yishay Garbasz on the politics of allyship and solidarity". Versobooks.com. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  6. ^ Rosen, Björn (2010-01-27). "Blick ins Innere". Jüdische Allgemeine (in German). Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  7. ^ "Bard College | The Photography Program | Alumni". photo.bard.edu. Retrieved 2019-11-21.
  8. ^ "The Watson Fellowship". Archived from the original on 2004-08-06. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  9. ^ a b c "Yishay Garbasz Interview – Uncovering PTSD & The Holocaust Through Art – THIIIRD Magazine". 18 June 2017. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  10. ^ "These Higher-Weight Female Athletes Are Shattering Myths About Fitness". U.S. News & World Report.
  11. ^ "Third Text". thirdtext.org. Retrieved 2023-05-29.
  12. ^ "Walking Into Conflict: Trans Woman and Visual Artist Yishay Garbasz on Chronicling Trauma". HuffPost. 2015-05-01. Retrieved 2023-05-29.
  13. ^ Teuchner, Sebastian. "#48 Lesbian Visibility Day ~ QueerFunk LAUT! - Der Podcast". podcast.de (in German). Retrieved 2023-05-29.
  14. ^ Garbasz, Yishay (2009). In my mother's footsteps. Hatje Cantz Pub. ISBN 9783775723985. OCLC 310395761.
  15. ^ "Conscientious | Review: In My Mother's Footsteps by Yishay Garbasz". jmcolberg.com. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  16. ^ "Tokyo Wonder Site". tokyo-ws.org. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  17. ^ "Yishay Garbasz - artforum.com / critics' picks". artforum.com. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  18. ^ ""Living in Evolution" - artforum.com / critics' picks". artforum.com. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  19. ^ "Body // Trauma and Identity: An Interview with Yishay Garbasz". Berlin Art Link. 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  20. ^ Garbasz, Yishay (2010). Becoming. Sobchack, Vivian Carol (First ed.). New York, N.Y. ISBN 9781935613008. OCLC 503041947.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  21. ^ "Frauen und Männer: Die Kunst zu leben - Zeitung Heute - Tagesspiegel". tagesspiegel.de. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  22. ^ "Robot Check". Amazon.
  23. ^ Erickson-Schroth, L.; Boylan, J.F. (2014). Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. Oxford University Press. p. 553. ISBN 9780199325351. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  24. ^ "Becoming – Yishay Garbasz". Retrieved 2020-05-23.
  25. ^ "The New York Times". tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com. 2011-12-02. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  26. ^ "Seven Art Fair to Return to Art Basel Miami Beach". Observer. 2012-09-19. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  27. ^ a b "BODY // Trauma and Identity: An Interview with Yishay Garbasz | Berlin Art Link". Berlin Art Link. 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  28. ^ "The Unsightly and the Unseen: Yishay Garbasz at Home at the Border". irw.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  29. ^ Johnson, Ken (2014-03-06). "The New York Times". Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  30. ^ "Japanese Photography Responds to 2011 Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster in MFA Exhibition, "In the Wake" | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston". mfa.org. Retrieved 2015-10-12.
  31. ^ a b "The Unsightly and the Unseen: Yishay Garbasz at Home at the Border". irw.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
  32. ^ "Yishay Garbasz: Severed Connections: Do what I say or they will kill you | Ronald Feldman Gallery | Artsy". www.artsy.net. Retrieved 2018-04-07.

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