11 June - 18 September 2022

Nil Yalter, Hasan Özgür Top

12th Berlin Biennale

SAHA provides production support for Nil Yalter and Hasan Özgür Top within the scope of 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Curated by accomplished artist Kader Attia, participating artists engage with the legacies of modernity and the resulting state of planetary emergency. In addition to their works, the exhibition features historical documents, including political and activist publications from the Archiv der Avantgarden – Egidio Marzona (AdA). The contributions reveal connections between colonialism, fascism, and imperialism, and propose decolonial strategies for the future, oriented around a set of questions: How can a decolonial ecology be shaped? What role can non-Western feminist movements play in the reappropriation of historical narratives? How can the debate on restitution be reinvented beyond the return of plundered goods? Can the field of emotion be reclaimed through art? 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art can be visited between 11 June - 18 September 2022.

Set in an interrogation room, Hasan Özgür Top's work, titled THE FALL OF A HERO (2020) shows a suspect (played by the artist) describing to an off-camera voice the Islamic State’s recruitment materials and the way they construct a familiar postlapsarian account. A call to restore glory after a putative fall from grace is couched in the language of moral urgency: Make the caliphate great again! We learn that ISIS uses the Trajan font—popular among marketers of Hollywood films and video games like LORD OF THE RINGS and ASSASSIN’S CREED—in their propaganda materials. But the intersections with pop culture do not end here: others include homophobic homosociality; a view of history as an endless struggle against decadence; violence as apotropaic remedy; and heroic masculinity as the solution rather than toxic masculinity as the problem.

Nil Yalter (born 1938, Cairo) graduated from Robert College in İstanbul. Yalter has lived in Paris since 1965, and she participated in the French counter culture and revolutionary political movement of the late 1960s, immersing herself in the debate around gender, migrant workers from Turkey, and other issues of the time. She also experimented in different media including drawing, photography, video, and performance art. She was a member of Fighting Women, a group of women artists who were active from 1976 to 1980. Her earliest feminist work, A Nomad’s Tent, a Study of Private, Public, and Feminine Spaces dates from 1973.  In 1978, she mounted a performance and installation acting out everyday life in a harem using a few pieces of furniture and utensils as part of A Day of Actions, held in the studio of one of the other members of the collectif. The video of that day was recently found in 2011 when art historian, Fabienne Dumont, was working on a book about Nil Yalter. It was digitized by the French National Library and is one of the few videos of the French feminist art movement in the 1970s. She has had many solo exhibitions including several at theMuseum of Modern Art of Paris, starting in 1973 and coming up to the present time. Her works entered in the permanent collections of Tate Modern, Istanbul Modern, Centre Pompidou among others.

Hasan Özgür Top (1987, Ankara) holds an MA in Painting from Marmara University, Institute of Fine Arts, Istanbul, 2015 and a BA in Painting, from Marmara University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Istanbul, 2014-2008. Selected group exhibitions include The Multiplier Effect, Mixer, Istanbul, 2017; Replaced, Rampa, Istanbul; If you can’t go through the door, go through the window, Alt Art Space, Istanbul and 1Sergi, Marmara University, Faculty of Fine Arts, Istanbul; The Ways We Stand By, Protocinema Emerging Curator Series etc. He lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.

About Berlin Biennale

Since its founding in 1996 by Klaus Biesenbach, founding director of KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and a group of collectors and patrons of the arts such as Eberhard Mayntz, the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art has become one of the most important international forums for contemporary art. Each edition brings together the most influential current positions of artists, theorists, and practitioners from a variety of fields in one of the most culturally progressive cities in Europe. Since 2004, it has been funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (German Federal Cultural Foundation).

The Fall Of A Hero
The Fall Of A Hero
12 Berlin Biennale 2022


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