The Peculiar Song

OPENING: Thursday April 4 2019, 20.00
Duration: April 4 – June 1 2019
Nitra Gallery Athens, 34 Alopekis str., Athens

Nitra Gallery is pleased to present Gülsün Karamustafa’s solo show in Athens, Greece, The Peculiar Song.

Gülsün Karamustafa (b. 1946) is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century in Turkey.

‘The Apartment Building’ commissioned by EMST (2012) and shown in Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany (2017)

Karamustafa has presented her work in Greece on the occasion of her commissioned work The Apartment Building (EMST–National Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012 Athens) which was later presented as part of documenta 14 at Museum Fridericianum (2017, Kassel, Germany) at the Exhibition ‘ANTIDORON. The EMST Collection’, she was invited by the Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (curated by Adelina von Furstenberg, 2013) and, as part of Grand Promenade exhibition in 2006, curated by Anna Kafetsi, she showed her works at the Melina Mercouri Foundation in Athens.

The exhibition The Peculiar Song at Nitra Gallery consists of several themes in different mediums such as paintings, assemblages with found objects, photo collages and a film video come together in the gallery space.

Istanbul’s extensive history, its multi-layered visual registers have always of Karamustafa’s interest. Picking up on the history of Istanbul, whose population has grown into 20 million in less than half a century, Karamustafa discusses issues of history and memory loss. The series of under-glass paintings, dig deep to find the traces and the reminiscent of its diverse cultures. The technique refers to a traditional

Gulsun Karamustafa, Istanbulites 1, 21×29 cm, Paper collage

Turkish practice that was usually found in paintings in Turkish coffeehouses and barbershops of the 19th and early 20th century, while the printed themes mixed with paper collages, are drawn from covers of popular magazines in the second decade of the 20th century. Also, assemblages with found objects and collages of photos of residents who once survived in the city are presented in the exhibition, highlighting notions of memory and identity.  The video film about Madam Marta, a resident of Burgaz Island in Istanbul, an Egyptian Coptic/Armenian woman, and the bay named after her, where she enjoyed swimming naked, will highlight the sound of The Peculiar Song in the venue.

Part of the exhibition are new works of the Promised Paintings series, in which women seem to be to pointing to each other and in other directions. Karamustafa who is inspired by Byzantine imagery, comments on this work ’An icon maker is only the hand of ‘god’ and as such never has the initiative to paint as him- or herself. Promised Paintings gave me a very special kind of freedom and became an inventive game for me as I never wished to obey the rules of ‘peinture’ that were thoroughly imposed by the art milieu in the 1980s’.

Gülsün Karamustafa’s The Peculiar Song presents new works which address issues evident in the artist’s practice throughout the years along with works of established ongoing series, bringing together the essence of Karamustafa’s practice.

Gülsün Karamustafa was born in 1946 in Ankara, Turkey. She graduated from the Istanbul State Fine Arts Academy in 1969 and lives and works in Istanbul.

She participated in the International Istanbul Biennials (1987, 1992, 1995); Kwangju (2000); Havana and Cetinje (2003); Seville Biennial (2004); Guangzou Triennial, Cairo Biennial (2008); Singapore Biennial (2011), Kiev Biennale (2012), Thessaloniki Biennale (2013); Sao Paulo and Gwangju Biennial (2014).

Her works are included in the collections of the Nationalgalerie Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Modern Art Warsaw, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Vienna, Tate Modern London, Guggenheim Museum New York, Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, Istanbul Modern among others.

Gülsün Karamustafa will be present at the Opening.

On view through June 1, 2019