ALİŞAN ARIYOR AÇIK TELEFON KULÜBESİ SERİSİNDEN / ALİŞAN IS CALLING (from the series OPEN PHONE BOOTH)
edition 2/5 + 1 AP
52 × 72 cm (framed)
Inv. No. 0231
Nilbar Güreş asks central questions about socially relevant themes: migration, identity, politics, handling of traditions. The artist presents an ever-resistant position regarding all types of standardization in her performances, videos, photographs and objects. With subtle humor, she makes a spirited and committed struggle against paralyzed systems. The fates of individuals are handled with empathy, care, reflection, and placed in an additional socio-political and public context.
The photographs from the series Open Phone Booth show scenes from an Alevish-Kurdish village in the province of Bingöl in the east of Anatolia. It is the home-village of the artist's father, which she has visited since childhood. For ages it was cut off from all types of infrastructure – telecommunication, for example, was up into the 1970s only possible with obstacles. Calls could only be made or received with the village leaderʼs telephone. Since the advent of mobile telephones this has changed, however the topographic location of the village still, to this day, creates limitations. Films and photographs from Nilbar Güreş’ series show residents, all named, on the way to the ‘phone booth’ on a hill near the village. The image layout, subjects and coloring in the photographs have a captivating poetry that could – when one doesnʼt look too closely – seem socio-romantically glorified. However, it is just the opposite in this case. Nilbar Güreş draws the present day and modern socialization, as well as current and explosive occurrences, together in such a way that it provokes a critical perception of manifold politically imprinted realities.
This also applies to the artistʼs large-format text-pictures. Picknick im Dunklen is a collage on black fabric. This culturally loaded background already evokes questions about religion and gender roles. The artist paints and draws delicate elements full of fairytale imagery and enigmatic gestures, which are applied to the wide surface of the picture. A standing fox or dog, a woman in a pink dress and headscarf, a tree full of balls, complete with crescent moon and little clouds. And yet the scene can also be decoded in a contemporary way – a TV-set illuminates both woman and animal, both appear to be chained at their ankles. A panel with connotations of sexuality, violence and precarious living environments. Just like in fairytales, the key to further interpretation lies in the presentation of symbols.
Heike Maier-Rieper, 2015 (translation: Virginia Dellenbaugh)
Nilbar Güreş - Overhead, Vienna 2018, p. 74 f
Open Phone Booth. a project by Nilbar Güres, Istanbul 2011, p. 8