BERLINARTPROJECTS is pleased to host the first solo exhibition of the artist Mehtap Baydu, “The Tale of Shahmaran”,whichwill also feature a performance at the opening. The focus of the exhibition lies on the act of performing and the cosmos that the artist creates around it. Shahmaran, an allegorical hybrid creature from Kurdish mythology, refers to the embodiment of a woman, a stranger, a lover, a marginal and the other and therefore symbolizes open-ended personifications. Fiction stories, invented characters and everyday life materials such as clothes, food, sayings and her body are inspirational ingredients for her work. These socio-cultural elements are composed to reflect on diverse geographical backgrounds and the meaning of cultural artifacts as well as their various readings. Driven by the search for a feminist narrative her work challenges patriarchal structures, social norms and immigration politics and develops fictional stories.
In an attempt to portray people’s stories in an artistic, social and political context, Baydu works with a wide range of material and medium. While the main emphasis of her work is on performance, she also uses photography, video, installation and sculptural objects to communicate different stages of her artistic process. The appearance and the use of the body are as essential to her as the spontaneous acts and contributions by the audience. Although it may appear as if each piece influenced by a specific cultural tradition or situation, there is always something so basic and human about them that everyone can relate to.
Osman (2010-2011), an outstanding photographic work of the exhibition, where the artist disguises herself as a man, a leader, a father or a landowner stands for a glorification of a member of the working class. Only the tasbih, the prayer beads in her hand subtly hint at motive from Islamic culture. The installation series OSMAN 5451 (2013) including photographs and documents, gives some further insight on the Osman character. How would it be to apply for a citizenship without a passport and an official residency permit? The performance held at the opening, “Tragen-Persönlichkeit” (2010-2014) (to assume a personality), will be presented as an installation piece throughout the exhibition. As a research-based, performative work, the work features texts and dresses used during the performance, as well as photographs. The sculptural installation and the video piece Stille, (2014), produced as a continuation of her sculpture piece Reden ist Silber (2010), refers to social and moral implications of expressing oneself and speaking out loud as well as to freedom of speech. Eat me - Meet me (2010) a video piece based on a performance, tries to reveal a basic human element: the interest one has in other human beings that also includes an interest in their outer appearance, their body.