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Series. 2010.

Nilbar Güreş declares war on the prevailing relations between the sexes by playful means, her weapons ranging from sewing needles to boxing gloves. In drawings, collages, performances, videos, and photographs, she overstates the norms of the majority society, countering them with hybridized enactments of female identity. In doing so, she challenges the renaissance of traditional role models in Turkey as well as the Western fear of Islamic symbols, which the artist sees as becoming increasingly instrumentalized by xenophobic parties. The series of photographs entitled Çırçır (2010) was produced for the 6th Berlin Biennial, in a house on the edge of İstanbul that once belonged to Güreş’s relatives. A patriarchally defined site, it represented a microcosm of social structures, as it was soon to be vacated to make way for a tunnel construction. Urbanization is ambivalent here. While dwellings used to be divided up among sons, parity payouts enabled daughters to emancipate themselves from the family. With women of widely differing cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, and educational standards, Güreş conducted a temporary occupation of once male domains. The collaborative play before the camera results in a precise measuring out of the maneuvering space of identity, of ideas of the “own” and the “alien,” as well as the cultural shaping of images. The photographs testify to respect and trust, and set a strong example of solidarity against a backdrop of far-reaching social transformation.

Credit: Kolja Reichert

The Front Balcony

 The Front Balcony (2010)



Watering the Roots

Watering the Roots (2010)

A Promise

A Promise (2010)

A Family Portrait-Hidden Women

A Family Portrait – Hidden Women (2010)

The Graves

The Graves (2010)

The Mirror

The Mirror (2010)

Demand More!

 Demand More! (2010)

The Gathering

 The Gathering (2010)

Playing with a Water Gun

 Playing With A Water Gun (2010)


 Sefine (2010)

The Living Room

The Living Room (2010)

The Way

 The Way (2010)

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