1 January–31 December 2022
As of 2018, two scholarships will be granted annually to artists who live in Istanbul. The existing Istanbul stipend of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe was expanded to a true exchange, with a jury annually selecting two artists from Istanbul to be sent to Berlin and vice versa. The aim is to further enhance the relations between the partner cities of Berlin and Istanbul as well as the connections to the Turkish art scene. This is done with the conviction that international exchange and direct communication allow cultural diversity be experienced as an enrichment, inviting people to a change in perspective.
15 January–15 June 2022
İrem Sözen works with photographs, both archival images and pictures she takes herself. She approaches photography as a language that comes close to literature in terms of its diversity and its potential to convey meaning. She creates texts out of photographs, putting them together like words and sentences; the pictures serve as fragments that she weaves into a single narrative, into a feeling that emerges from experiences from different times and places. She has also long been interested in pictures with regard to language and the senses, fascinated in particular by the seemingly silent worlds of animals and plants on account of their capacity for generating meaning without using words. She publishes her picture essays in book form, mostly as part of independent and collective projects.
In Berlin, Sözen will continue a project she began in 2016 with photographs from Berlin’s botanical garden and zoo, focussing on relations between humans and nonhumans, the history of these relations, and nonverbal attributions of meaning. How do we perceive other species? How do we relate to them and to their subjective worlds that we can never fully comprehend?
İrem Sözen (born 1984 in Istanbul) studied engineering in Istanbul and Milan. Since 2005 she has been focussing on photography and the art of bookbinding. Her work has been shown in many exhibitions and at photography festivals, including her solo show “turnaround” at Operation Room Gallery, Istanbul (2015) and group shows including “Personal Mythologies”, Cork Photo Festival, Ireland (2015), “Animals’ Side”, Mixer Gallery, Istanbul (2017), “L’oeil et la nuit”, ICI: Institut des cultures d’Islam, Paris (2019), “The Female Side of The Moon”, Galerie Z22, Berlin (2021) and “Sound is the silence of the image”, Fabrikraum, Vienna (2021). iremsozen.com
15 July –15 December 2022
Through her artistic work, İz Öztat deals with marginalized aspects of the past, which have been concealed and denied up to the present, contrasting official narratives with the possibilities of fiction. Öztat fabricates the (auto-) biography of Zişan (1894-1970), who appears to her as a historical figure, a ghost, and an alter ego. She takes on Zişan’s archive and interprets it through her own practice to propose a complex temporality where a suppressed past haunts an increasingly authoritarian present. In Berlin, Öztat will continue the (auto-)biographical artist‘s novel Every Name in History is I and I is Other, focusing on the chapter titled Dead Reckoning to Her Folds, in which sculptures of the female body become objects of queer desire and collective action in a narrative that weaves together histories of resistance.
İz Öztat (b. 1981) studied visual arts at Oberlin College in Ohio, USA, and at Sabancı University in Istanbul. Her works have been shown in numerous local and international exhibitions, including her solo exhibition Suspended, Pi Artworks Istanbul in 2019, as well as in the group exhibitions Rounded by Sleep, Arter, Istanbul (2022); Tamawuj, Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017); Land without Land, Heidelberger Kunstverein (2016) and Salt Water: A Theory on Thought Forms, 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015). Zişan’s (b. 1894 – d. 1970) destiny is marked by an ambiguous belonging from the outset. Born from an affair between Nezihe Hanım, a teacher from an upper class Turkish family, and Dikran Bey, an Armenian photographer, she fled Istanbul with her father in 1915 to escape the Armenian Genocide. She then embarked on a lifelong journey through a vast geography and the guts of the 20th century as a heroine in camouflage, who permeated the canon of avant-garde art without being noticed. She did not identify as an artist and disseminated her work under pseudonyms throughout her life. Her imaginary archive contains texts, sketches, photographs, photo-collages, objects and ephemera.
Thursday, 1 December 2022, 17:00 (en)
Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin (Studio 139)
“Daredevil” by İz Öztat (+ talk with Susanne Weiß)
Since July 15, 2022, Istanbul-based artist İz Öztat lives and works as residency artist of the Berlin Senate and the nGbK at Kunstquartier Bethanien. During this time, she has been working on a site-specific installation titled Daredevil, accompanied by a short story, both of which take shape in response to apparitions in the studio space. Working with the height of the studio space, she arrives at preliminary sketches that deal with verticality and falling.
The conversation between İz Öztat and Susanne Weiß will introduce Daredevil as it relates to a hauntological understanding of history that the artist articulates in previous works. They will untangle continuous threads in Öztat’s practice, which tie together the interdiction of mourning with desire, pain and pleasure.
Susanne Weiß is a curator and art mediator living in Berlin, where she also studied museology. Her curatorial approach is driven by the belief that the (art) exhibition has to be intriguing and mediating its contexts. Therefore, she has initiated projects and formats which critically encompass a chorus of voices, from different disciplines and directions. She has learned and worked in and between London, Oxford, Jerusalem, Vienna, Dresden, Sharjah, Heidelberg, Istanbul, Halle and Berlin. See also mukimaki.de.
The stipend of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe is made possible in the frame of a cooperation between the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin as well as DEPO in Istanbul.