Nilbar Güreş "Overhead" featured on kurier.at

Nilbar Güreş: The search for hidden leeway

The showcase of the artist in Lentos shows a poetic and radical visual world.

"Ayşe loves Fatma", is written in Turkish in large, pink letters on a wall. Before that, in back view two not very young women are visible, one is wearing a headscarf. The two hug each other.

It is one of those productions typical of Nilbar Güreş. The artist, who has already won two of the most important domestic art prizes with the Otto Mauer Prize (2014) and the BC21 Art Award (2015), is shaking all sorts of taboos, but she does it in a quiet, poetic way.

Many of Güreş 'photographic stagings, which are only visible as a facet of a multi-faceted work in the exhibition in Linzer Lentos (until Sept. 10) , can at first glance pass through as simple everyday scenes: A beekeeper takes care of her bees, of one Holzhütte hangs colorful laundry - and behind kiss two.

The artist, who was born in Istanbul , studied in Vienna and now lives in both cities, had once peeled herself out of a mess of headscarves for a video performance (2006). But she has not begun to rip off the cloth in a superficial gesture of liberation: her works speak much more of an interest in the boundary between the visible and the hidden drawn by objects such as (head) cloths, and respect for that Life "behind".

Dignity and resistance

The characters appearing in Güreş ' paintings all radiate dignity and strength - this is true of the old woman hiding behind the box in a red-washed room with a huge water pistol, as well as the transsexual prostitutes standing in front of the chest Skyline of São Paulo posing with a cactus between the legs. The interest in the agency of persons invisible or treated as invisible by dominant forces in society appears as a connecting element.

The series of works transcend both geographical boundaries and those between genres of art: the patterned fabrics, which already play an important role in Güreş 'photographs, develop their own lives in collages and spatial installations - belt buckles become the mouths of a two-headed snake symbolizing "queer desire" The sewing and embroidery tools become weapons.

"Self-defloration" is perhaps the most radical of a series of embroidery images that express their explicit motifs in simple simplicity. For the installation "Hairy Fire" - a kind of fire in a corner of a room, with balls of wool instead of coal - the wall was slightly singed, you can still smell the intervention: the person who keeps the hearth fire at home, also has the power to light the hut.

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