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Turkish video art displayed at museum
2013-12-28
By Wang Jie

As one of the big events of the “Turkish Cultural Year in China” in Shanghai, “A Selection from the Video Collection of the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art” is showcased at Minsheng Art Museum.

Organized by Minsheng Art Museum and Istanbul Modern museum, the exhibition features seven video works from six artists from different periods of time.

All the videos are on loan from Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, the first contemporary art museum in Istanbul. The exhibition includes “The Headless Woman or the Bellydance” created by Nil Yalter in 1974, the first video exhibited in Turkey and widely regarded as a landmark in the history of the genre.

In the video, the artist focuses her camera on her own belly and writes on it an excerpt from “Erotique et Civilizations” by Rene Nelli to the accompaniment of belly-dancing music. Yalter therefore draws together the Oriental fantasies of men and the demand for bodily freedom of women.

The video “Undressing” by Bilbar Gures is a performance showing the artist wearing a costume that consists of different kinds of head scarves. Slowly the artist starts to remove the head scarves one by one while mentioning the names of women who live across Europe who she knows personally.

“As people living in Europe, often with foreign nationalities, these women, as well as myself, with or without a head scarf, neither represent Turkey, Iran, or Afghanistan nor any other country or Islam itself. Even so, they often serve as targets,” the artist says about the performance.

“The majority of Muslim women living in Europe, with or without a head scarf, first and foremost represent their individual selves and not religious or nationalist ideas.”

The exhibition leaves the impression that female Turkish artists more frequently choose the media of video to express their artistic thoughts.

“Emotion in Motion,” created in 2002 by Nezaket Ekici, is another example. In the video, every surface in the room from closet to wall, from shoes to bedspread, and finally even the artist’s own body has been kissed, leaving her red lipstick marks. Ekici treats the body, especially the female body, as an art object. She uses her body as a vehicle in her performance as a means of entering into a new kind of interaction with viewers, while at the same time revealing her passions and desires in the most straightforward way.

Date: Through February 15, 10am-6pm, closed on Mondays

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