Sporting Chances, a solo exhibition by the American born Istanbul based artist, Nancy Atakan, brings together new embroidered works and drawings. The exhibition, curated by Nat Muller, will be accompanied by the launch of Passing On, a full colour monograph on the artist edited by Muller and published by Kehrer Publishers.
Atakan has been a fixture of the Istanbul arts scene for over 20 years, as an artist, teacher, art historian, and art critic. Her practice, which spans most possible mediums, investigates the relationship between orient and occident, the meaning of belonging, gender politics, and different concepts of femininity. These subjects are relevant to her personally as an American relocated to a city at the centre of the East-West axis, and her works often contain autobiographical elements. By doing this, the historical narratives and weighty issues within her work are permeated with touches of lightness as they are brought closer to the realm of the everyday.
For Sporting Chances Atakan brings to life Azade, her former exercise therapist. Azade was born during the Ottoman Empire but matured and worked during the nascent Turkish Republic, an era of transition that exemplifies one of Nancy’s core interests: the shifting sands of cultural norms between the East and the West. In line with her usual methodology, Atakan conducted research, collected relevant documents, and met with her subject’s relatives. From this she has produced works that tell a story, neither wholly fictional nor factual, but which is a refreshing tale of female empowerment.
Turkish sound artist Cevdet Erek will contribute a new rhythm piece that responds to Atakan’s exhibited works and the historical context they address. Additionally, the artist commissioned Nermin Mungul, a retired teacher of traditional sewing techniques from an Istanbul girls' school, to embroider three of her drawings onto delicate handkerchief.
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Nancy Atakan, b. 1946. Major exhibitions include Little Faces, Big Bodies, Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey (2015); Stay With Me, Weserburg Museum, Bremen, Germany (2015); 40 videos from 40 years of video art in Turkey, 25th Ankara International Film Festival, Goethe Institute, Turkey (2014); Moving Image, Art International Fair, Istanbul, Turkey (2014);Me, Myself and I, Me as a Dilemma, Cer Modern, Ankara, Turkey (2013); Places of Memory-Fields of Vision, Invisible Cities Festival, Contemporary Art Center of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece (2012); Dream and Reality- Modern and Contemporary Women Artists from Turkey, Istanbul Modern, Turkey (2011).
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