press release

Ataman's works constitute a unique contemporary collection of "talking portraits", often of marginalised characters who constantly tell about themselves and construct their realities and identities through narrations and fictions. In Mesopotamian Dramaturgies, this repertoire expands to incorporate the history of the geography he inhabits, this time to point out that geography and history are pure constructs, in the same way as individual or social identities.

The series, which Ataman initiated in 2009, focuses on Turkey's adventure in modernisation and reflects on the unsettled relationship between the Orient and the Occident, modernity and tradition, global and local. Mesopotamian Dramaturgies explores the difficulties in creating spaces for negotiation and transcending these dualities particularly in a geography where relationship with modernity is infused with tension. Ataman defines Mesopotamia as a grey zone where the formulas developed in the so-called 'centres' are constantly transformed and blurred and he revisits the highly charged history of the region through his own artistic language that intertwines reality and fiction in a unique way.

The first cycle of the series, which was supported by the Vehbi Koç Foundation through the co-production of three of its works, was previously exhibited at Lentos Art Museum within the scope of Linz European Capital of Culture (2009) and during the inaugural exhibition of MAXXI – National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome (2010). The exhibition at ARTER will also include "Mayhem", Ataman's latest video installation, which initiates the second cycle of the series. Co-produced by the Vehbi Koç Foundation, "Mayhem" was shot at first shown during the Brighton Festival (May 2011) in the UK.

A documentary film on Kutluğ Ataman, directed by Metin Çavuş, is also to be screened throughout the exhibition. The film documents Ataman's artistic production in a retrospective approach and elucidates his works with his own words and with commentaries by curators, art historians and critics who are familiar with his production through close collaboration, to witness the construction of an impressive artistic production spanning 15 years.

only in german

Kutlug Ataman
Mesopotamian Dramaturgies