artist / participant
Nevin Aladağ. ROLLIN’
28.03.2018 - 27.05.2018
Curator: Karen Verschooren, STUK
"Traces is not only a theatre of animated matter, but of cultural references in motion—dynamic and quirky, but more often idling, aimless and melancholic. If the town plays itself, it is moody." –Andreas Schlaegel
STUK is delighted to present the work of Nevin Aladağ (*1972). In her first solo exhibition in Belgium, ROLLIN’, she brings together a number of video works.
Traces is a large-scale sound-and-image portrait of the city of Stuttgart, Germany where Aladağ grew up. Western European instruments can be seen and heard: an accordion plays as it unfolds along the length of a lamp post, a frame drum rolls loudly through a park landscape, a flute trills as it sails off into the sky with a balloon, the chestnuts in a chestnut tree play a gong, and a violin turns on a merry-go-round. As surprisingly as a symphonic interplay seems to arise, it disintegrates just as quickly back into cacophony. The most disparate urban situations become the players in this orchestra. Rocking horses in the pedestrian zone and the slopes of vineyards, downhills on the main street and a carousel in a playground constitute the ensemble that, under Aladağ’s direction, performs an audio rendition of their city.
Some two years prior to Traces, Aladağ created Session in response to a commission for the Sharjah Biennial. Similar to Traces, also in Session musical instruments take the lead in introducing us to Sharjah’s urban areas and desert. Different kinds of percussion instruments from Pakistan, India and Iraq—countries chosen to reflect the heritage of the workforce in the United Arab Emirates—are played by the elements; the sand, the sea and the wind. Drums produce various sounds while rolling down large sand dunes in the desert. They are "played" by brittle loose twigs, waves rolling in and even drops of water from a sprinkler on a well-kept lawn, perhaps outside a luxury hotel. These instruments combined with their "players" hint at an underlying narrative of economic power, cultural heritage and identity.
In both works, city infrastructures and natural elements solicit sounds from local instruments which seem to function fully autonomously, no human being in sight. Neither pure noise, nor fully composed, Aladağ succeeds in creating a quasi meditative city symphony of cultural references in motion.
Where Traces and Session are void of people, they take centre stage in Top View in a very performative though only partial way. For this video, Aladağ approached people of different ages, ethnicities, sexes, and social classes in the center of Munich and asked them to perform a few dance steps for the camera. The people in the film remain anonymous, and one sees little more than their shoes and the movements of their feet, yet a lot is revealed about them and their performance of everyday life. Aladağ composed some 50 of the filmed sequences into a loop, the sound of which is made up of heels clicking and soles scraping on the pavement of Munich’s sidewalks and squares.
Though omnipresent in the exhibition, the works in ROLLIN’ are not just about creating new sounds. On the contrary, Aladağ allows us to reinterpret more or less familiar identities of cities (of Stuttgart, Sharjah, and Munich) and its dwellers, in a rhythmic, ever continuous and evolving way.
Text after excerpts from Andreas Schlaegel and Cornelia Gockel.
The exhibition ROLLIN’ is part of a series of solo exhibitions in STUK by contemporary visual artists who have a particular affinity for the moving image. Previous exhibitions in this series include Omer Fast: Appendix; Joachim Koester: Maybe this act, this work, this thing; Emre Hüner: Neochronophobiq; John Akomfrah: Auto Da Fé; and Bjørn Melhus: The Theory of Freedom.
About Nevin Aladag
Nevin Aladağ (*1972, Van, Turkey) is a visual artist working with video, sound, performance, sculpture and installation. In her practice, she often addresses the social structures and social fabric of society reflecting upon topics such as borders and transgressing borders, the individual versus the collective, and identity formation and manifestation.
She has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, most recently in the Venice Biennale (2017) and Documenta XIV (2017). Her work is part of the collections of a.o. Centre Pompidou, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Sammlung der Neuen Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. Aladağ graduated in 2000 from the Akademie der Bildende Künste, Munich. She lives and works in Berlin. She is represented by Wentrup Gallery, Berlin.