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Turkish Contemporary Video Art
13.11.2015 - 10.01.2016

In cooperation with TrAP


Çağdaş Kahriman / CANAN / Işıl Eğrikavuk / Nezaket Ekici / Savas Boyraz / Selda Asal

> Parallel event:
Sunday 22 November
Film screenings at Cinemateket USF in Bergen
Two current contemporary Turkish female directors:
- Pelin Esmer, Watchtower
- Yeşim Ustaoğlu, Araf - Somewhere in Between

Six video artists, representatives of the bustlingly exciting Turkish media art scene that has been developing the last twenty years, take part in this exhibition. In a Turkey that is getting increasingly authoritarian, they remind us of the value of the free creative art scene.

The artists are all motivated by the current political situation in Turkey, where freedom of expression and rights for women are currently under pressure. In the twelfth year of Recep Erdoğan’s rule, Turkey is moving towards more religious conservatism and an increasing will to use force against protesters and critics, with rough prosecution of critical journalists, academics and artists, as well as political activists.

Needless to say, this situation is leaving its traces in contemporary art. Media art is often characterized by being close to the politics of everyday life, and the artists in this exhibition have been important contributors at a momentous time for Turkey´s contemporary art scene, regarded as one of the most thriving in the world. The city of Istanbul especially, Oriental and European at the same time, has become a hub for contemporary art.

The six artists all use video as a central medium in their art. Being both artists and social activists, they use different ways to get the message across, from Selda Asal’s conceptual installation “House of glass”, CANAN’s compelling storytelling in “Examplary”, to Nezaket Ekici’s use of video as performance in “Human Cactus”, Çağdaş Kahriman’s documentarist view point in “Rear Window” and Işıl Eğrikavuk’s “Gül”, where the artist is playing around with the audience in a game of fact versus fiction. Savas Boyraz uses a triptych video installation to shed new light on the Kurdish territorial conflict.

Photos: Nezaket Ekici, Human Cactus (2012). Video stills by Branka Pavlovic.

When it comes to Turkey, the gap between a conservative authoritarian society on the one hand and a modern urban society with long academic and artistic traditions on the other, never ceases to fascinate. The exhibition title, Mother Tongue, refers to the Turkish writer Emine Sevgi Özdamar. In her short story collection with the same title, she addresses the experience of a double identity, being born in Turkey and growing up in Germany. Mother Tongue points towards the significance of a cultural identity, with the mother’s tongue as the source of a feminine cultural heritage, and the passing on of experiences.

Mother Tongue will also be shown at several norwegian venues, starting at Buskerud Kunstsenter, Drammen, 24 February - 20 March 2016, and touring in collaboration with The Norwegian Association of Art Societies, in 2016.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog in English and Turkish with texts by Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu, Cem Bölüktaş, Ceren Erdem, Dr. Andreas Dammertz, Isin Önol, Hito Steyerl, Nefise Özkal Lorentsen and the curators of the exhibition; Malin Barth and Brynjar Bjerkem.

Produced by TrAP and 3,14
Collaborators: Buskerud Art Centre and Interkultur, Municipality of Drammen, Norske Kunstforeninger.
Supported by Arts Council Norway and Fritt Ord.