press release

March 18–June 18, 2023
Opening: March 17, 7pm

Gurbette Kalmak / Bleiben in der Fremde

Cana Bilir-Meier, Semra Ertan, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Nil Yalter, Hanefi Yeter

My name is foreigner,
I work here,
I know how I work.
Do the Germans also know that?
My work is hard,
My work is dirty.
I don’t like it, I say.
“If you do not like the work,
Go back home,” they say.
My work is hard,
My work is dirty,
My wage is low.
I also pay taxes, I say.
I’ll say it again and again,
Whenever I have to hear:
“Find yourself another job.”
But the fault is not with the Germans,
Is not with the Turks.
Turkey needs foreign currency,
Germany workers.
My country sold us to Germany,
Like stepchildren,
Like useless people.
Despite everything it needs foreign currency,
It needs peace.
My country sold me to Germany.
My name is FOREIGNER.
[Semra Ertan, My Name is Foreigner, 1981]

The exhibition Bleiben in der Fremde (Staying in a foreign land) presents artistic responses to the social and political situation of laborers in the “guest worker” system of Western Europe. The works focus on the 1970s and were also largely created shortly after the end of the recruitment agreement (Anwerbestopp) and in the midst of an emerging paradigm of integration. This was a period when migrant workers from Turkey were fighting for equal labor and civil rights and at the same time were also justifiably skeptical of the integration paradigm with its demands for assimilation.

Like Semra Ertan in her poetry, Cana Bilir-Meier, Sohrab Shahid Saless, Nil Yalter, and Hanefi Yeter create a different language in video, film, photography, and painting to narrate the pain of denied belonging in both home and foreign land.

Curated by Gürsoy Doğtaş & Nina Tabassomi.

Bleiben in der Fremde is the first chapter of a TAXISPALAIS exhibition trilogy which focusses on questions of togetherness. What can artistic languages contribute to more appropriate discourses around the plurality of belonging and multiplicities in Western Europe? The chapters will be curated in different constellations.