A Tale Of Shahmaran | solo exhibition of Mehtap Baydu

A Tale of Shahmaran

A Tale of Shahmaran
Mehtap Baydu

30 May – 5 July 2014
Berlinartprojects, Berlin

curated by Didem Yazıcı

The focus of the exhibition lies on the act of performing and the cosmos that the artist creates around it. Shahmaran, an allegorical hybrid creature from Kurdish mythology, refers to the embodiment of a woman, a stranger, a lover, a marginal and the other and therefore symbolizes open-ended personifications. Fiction stories, invented characters and everyday life materials such as clothes, food, sayings and her body are inspirational ingredients for her work. These socio-cultural elements are composed to reflect on diverse geographical backgrounds and the meaning of cultural artefacts as well as their various readings. Driven by the search for a feminist narrative her work challenges patriarchal structures, social norms and immigration politics and develops fictional stories. In an attempt to portray people’s stories in an artistic, social and political context, Baydu works with a wide range of material and medium. While the main emphasis of her work is on performance, she also uses photography, video, installation and sculptural objects to communicate different stages of her artistic process. The appearance and the use of the body are as essential to her as the spontaneous acts and contributions by the audience during the performance.  Although it may appear as if each piece is influenced by a specific cultural tradition or situation, there is always something basic and human about them that everyone can relate to.

Osman (2010-2011), is an outstanding photographic work of the exhibition, in which the artist assumes the role and stereotype of aman, a leader, a father or a landowner and therefore symbolizes the glorification of a member of the working class. Only the ‘tesbih’, the beads in her hand subtly hint at a motive from Islamic culture. The installation series OSMAN 5451 (2013), including photographs and documents, gives further insight into the character of Osman. What would it be like to apply for a citizenship without a passport and an official residency permit? The performance held at the opening, Tragen-Persönlichkeit (2010-2014) (to assume a personality), will also be presented as an installation piece throughout the exhibition. As a research-based performative work the work features texts and dresses used during the performance as well as photographs. The sculptural installation and the video piece Stille (2014), produced as a continuation of her sculpture piece Reden ist Silber (2010), refer to social and moral implications of expressing oneself and of speaking out loud as well as to freedom of speech.  Eat me – Meet me (2010), a video piece based on a performance, tries to reveal a basic human element: the interest one has in other human beings that also includes an interest in their outer appearance, their body.

Mehtap Baydu, b. 1972 in Bingöl, Turkey, lives and works in Kassel and Berlin. She studied fine arts at Kunsthochschule Kassel with Prof. von Windheim and graduated with her as well as Prof. Urls Lüthi. From 2010 – 2011 she was a master student of Prof. Dorothee von Windheim.  She received stipends from the university as well as from the Braun Stiftung. From 1997 – 2000 she studied sculpture at the Fine Arts Faculty, Hacettepe University. In 2011 she got funds for a project by the Dr. Wolfgang-Zippel Stiftung and also received the prize UPK – Kunstpreis Kassel. Her recent exhibitions include alèm mar in Montes Carlos, Brazil, SILENCE at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2014), HEUTE HIER – bugün burada in  KLIESTPARK, Berlin, Nev Nesil:  Kafa Kağıdı, Galeri Nev, Ankara, Turkey, THE UNANSWERED QUESTION. ISKELE2 curated by Rene Block (2013), Berlin, TURKISH ART NEW AND SUPERB in Tanas, Kassel, HIER und JETZT at KulturBahnhof-Südflügel (2012), Kassel,  Spaziergang at the Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Examen-Ausstellung at documenta-Halle in Kassel 2010 and Schnitt/Menge at Kunstverein Weiden (2009).

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