Monday, May 23, 2011

towards unknown fields of imagination: nilbar güres for universes in universe

After many years, the Turkish contemporary art scene has been developing another strong woman artists generation, as evident from the exhibitions opened in young galleries during recent years showing more and more women artists. The issue of visibility is still relevant not only in Turkey but in many centers of international contemporary art scene. And this was again made clear in WHW curated 11th Istanbul Biennial where maybe for the first time such a large number of local women artists participated, among them Istanbul and Vienna based Nilbar Güres. Actually Istanbul's first serious encounter with her work was a group exhibition at Outlet Istanbul called 'Emergency Exit' in 2008. Following, her Unknown Sports (2009) series presentation in staged photographs and mixed media collages during the Biennial proved the local presentations she had before constituted only a small part of her big promise: The wise, humorous and taboo breaching way she translates what she has experienced and witnessed in her body as a woman and in her life around women into an oeuvre that has a strong base in the will to struggle and survive. Her individually queer tone of imagining and scripting alternative scenarios for the daily that makes open ended identifications possible. Her potential to expose and transform vulnerabilities experienced under the societal norms into nodes of strength.

Nilbar Güreş' first solo presentation in Turkey opened at Rampa Istanbul last April. The well designed and informative exhibition covers not only her recent production ÇırÇır (2010) commissioned and first shown by Berlin Biennial, the first time appearing TrabZONE (2010) and the freshly finished collage Yüz (2011) but also two earlier and fundamental works she produced in 2006; Undressing performance video and Self-Defloration collage.The invitation card; a camp wedding invitation selected by the artist which displays two androgynous figures as bride and groom inside a pink glittery heart can obviously be counted as part of the exhibition. It is an exemplary gesture of the gallery to support Nilbar Güres' flourishing production with a solo exhibition at this point. On the whole this solo statement is a great opportunity to see where the artist's strongly sensitive practice towards pressure and violence inserted by patriarchal, authoritarian and heteronormative societal codes to subordinate what is different has arrived from and is going towards. Güres' main issues always interconnect among each other taking different forms of performance, photography, drawing, collage and video. Each character appearing as part of her open ended narratives acts as herself. Each series works with a strong desire to deterritorialize and re-code the spaces and locations they took place, the artist believes in unexpected performances of the body may alter its surroundings.

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