artist / participant

press release

On the occasion of the first French retrospective of the work by Nil Yalter, 49 Nord 6 Est invites you to discover over a dozen pieces by this firmly engaged artist of Turkish origin, most of which have never been shown on the national artistic scene!

A voluntary exile, Nil Yalter (1938, Cairo, Egypt), settled in Paris in 1965. She is a pioneering, spirited, and original artist motivated by social and political convictions. She creates hybrid works that combine video, painting, drawing, photography, collage, as well as performance and installation. The singular body of her work eludes artistic canons and spans a territory much vaster than art. In this context, the exhibition supporters include the Centre culturel d'Anatolie de Metz-Borny, while a number of her posters may be seen in the public space throughout this extraordinary retrospective.

The artist's early work, pictorial and abstract in nature, took a "documentary turn" in the 1970s: Yalter started to incorporate social, anthropological, and ethnographic considerations, linked to her country of origin (such as crafts, shamanism, magic), and associate them with ideological issues of the post-1968 period. For the present exhibition, the artist has chosen a set of works that address the question of nomadism, exile, women's spaces, such as the emblematic "Topak Ev" of 1973 (a major historical piece whose form is inspired by ancestral traditions of Anatolia nomads), and the neon production of 2015: "Exile is a Hard Job."

A feminist manifesto, the words of migrant workers, travelogues from journeys across central Europe, and transformative spiritual experiences are clear evidence that the artist is as engaged with ideas as she is with form. As early as the 1970s, Nil Yalter started recycling materials and images in her creative work, and today she uses new technologies to reactivate some of those pieces. The artist is continuously updating her discourse and her media, as well as fighting to foreground the struggles of minorities, which unfortunately remain a hot-button issue.

Exhibition organized in collaboration with La Verrière, Fondation d'entreprise Hermès.