Turkish artists have created a group exhibition to be displayed until Dec. 9 in Berlin focusing on neo-Nazi murders in Germany.
The Apartment Project in Berlin is hosting the exhibition "Space, Witnessing and Solidarity" created by four Turkish artists: Merve Bedir, Alican İnal, Suat Öğüt and Belit Sağ. The exhibition mainly focuses on the politics surrounding the National Socialist Underground (NSU) murders in relation to the Turkish people in Germany. The NSU is accused of murdering eight Turks, a Greek man and a German police officer in Germany. It is considered controversial to reference the murders by "kebab" or "Bosporus," perhaps because Germany's mainstream media had used these terms to make the events seem more exotic or alienating.
"Overexposed" (2017) is a video essay from artist, Belit Sağ, who used the testimonies of the NSU tribunal in Germany.
Suat Öğüt's "Solidarity of The Memory" (2017) is an installation featuring the facade of a building situated between Keupstrasse and Schanzenstrasse in the city of Cologne. The artist uses a mesh print widely used on the historical buildings during restoration. The building is a representation of the collective memory of the neighborhood, which has witnessed a couple of burnings at the hands of German neo-Nazi groups. However, it is within the plan of gentrification and is faced with destruction. Öğüt created a scale sculpture of the building and constructed wood stands behind it to display the names of each victim written in gold. Öğüt's sculpture focuses on the memory of a building about to be demolished. Unlike the current discussions worldwide of whether to leave colonial or racist sculptures in place or to remove them, "Solidarity of the Memory" moves beyond the traditional controversy to deeply transverse meaning while focusing on the NSU murders.
Kumkapı is one of the most interesting places in Istanbul. There where you can find neighborhoods of Nigerian, Senegalese, Sudanese and Angolan immigrants among popular touristic spots. I know my grandfather also emigrated from Malatya to Kumkapı to work as a porter in Valide Han in the 1950s. This neighborhood's destiny has not changed much since then. Fascinatingly, it is still a home for immigrants today. "Guesthouse" (2014) is a single channel computer-generated imagery (CGI) installation projected on the showcase of the gallery space by Merve Bedir and Alican İnal. "Guesthouse" uses existing news and documents about the foreigner guesthouse, which became a detention center in 2010. The exhibition is created through a 3D CGI model of the building constructed according to the experiences of witnesses and gradually reveals the anatomy of the building. The video portrays the imagination and memories related to a building that has been shaped by its stories and architecture. The artists used a grey palate, which symbolizes both the actual color of the detention center and the overall mood of its atmosphere.
"Guesthouse" uses existing news and documents about the foreigner guesthouse, which became a detention center in 2010.
"Overexposed" (2017) is a video essay from artist, belit sağ, who used the testimonies of the NSU tribunal in Germany. sağ's project plays with the limits of video. In the video, we see overexposed images that tend to overwhelm your ocular senses, and testimonies from the victims. For instance, the work features the autobiographical book, "Schmerzliche Heimat" ("The Painful Homeland"), written by Semiya Şimşek, daughter of Enver Şimşek, one of the NSU's first victims. In Semiya Şimşek's book, there are no family images "because they were all taken by the court," she says. It is also interesting because the artist did not use any images that represented the tribunal expect of architectural structure, which helps it meld nicely with Merve Bedir and Alican İnal's work in the space.
One scene in "Overexposed," where one of the suspects of the NSU tribunal goes out for a cigarette break, is especially interesting and feels as though one could drink, smoke and stand right next to him. This scene reminded me of Hannah Arendt's famous book "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil." belit's art mostly depicts political incidents and uses images of them to create a non-narrative. Besides, she occasionally uses images and decontextualizes them to create something new. For instance, she worked with low resolution, cropped images of funeral flowers to contradict the event itself. The video with overexposed scenes literally blinds you, as was sağ's intention. The blinding effect is meant to draw attention to the NSU tribunal by blinding or warning the viewer when a German intelligence agency officer on screen was also at the scene of a neo-Nazi murder.
It is important to remember the names of the NSU victims who lost their lives after these attacks: Bahide Arslan, Yeliz Arslan, Ayse Yilmaz, Hatice Genç, Enver Şimşek, Abdurrahim Özüdoğru, Saime Genç, Hülya Genç, Gürsun İnce, Gülistan Öztürk, Süleyman Taşköprü, Habil Kılıç, Mehmet Turgut, Greek Theodoros Boulgarides, İsmail Yaşar, Mehmet Kubaşık, Halit Yozgat and police officer Michele Kiesewetter.