In his work Naneci Yurdagül reflects, subtly and ironically, on social, cultural and political situations and their change, which always have traces of his own biography. One focus of his artistic engagement are topics on national and religious identity, migration, social exclusion, cultural appropriation and mistrust. They are constantly picked up and are treated critically, often in relation to current public debates, to intervene in the social discourse. His artistic expression includes almost all media such as performance, film, painting, photography, sculpture and installation, setting specific incentives. The Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden has organised the most complex institutional solo exhibition of the artist in Germany.
For the exhibition in Wiesbaden Naneci Yurdagül conceived a round tour made up of several installations, focusing “exemplary” on the phenomenon of cultural appropriation and opening up new perspectives on the supposedly alien, by holding up a mirror to the familiar.
The exhibition, designed by the artist as a world of experience, can be visited and experienced by the visitors only in a burqa. Alone one room of the exhibition, which is inspired by Keith Haring’s idea of a “Pop Shop” and in which editions by the artist can be purchased, is accessible without a burqa. In this way, Yurdagül ironically draws a border between secular and divine localities. As a formal starting point for the tour the Artist has chosen his work “Portrait of Allah—Portrait von Gott” which was awarded the Linklaters Prize by the Städelschule in 2011, which, in another Version, was already on display in the Kunstverein in 2010. The religious dogma of the prohibition of images, which once was common for all monotheistic religions, but had culturally different (artistic) characteristics and for centuries and up to the present day has potential for conflict, becomes in his exhibition 2012 an image of the state of society. In the course of the discussions over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, Yurdagül refers with “Portrait of Allah” to the methods of illustration of the divine used in Islam in fine art and music, building on a long representational tradition, which focuses on the beauty of mathematical principles and must do without pictures.
The dipping into the artistic world of experience anonymously by the burqa, is interrupted for the first time in the “Hall of Mirrors” designed specially for the exhibition in Islamic image tradition and Numerology. One will recognize oneself, and yet the image is unusually alienated and detached.
In the subsequent almost white room, language becomes the artistic touch: A discreet wall work completed only in combination with the titling, and undergoing a new connotation.
Yurdagül concludes his exhibition tour profanely in the last room: with the skyline of New York, representing civilization, freedom and growth on the one hand, on the other hand also the “Clash of Civilizations” and in the light of this the visitors, over a cup of tea, can ask themselves in which world it wants to live.
Naneci Yurdagül (born 1979, b. Frankfurt am Main, Germany) studied art and performance at the Université de Vincennes in Paris, the Master of Fine Arts Program of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Tel Aviv and at the Staatliche Hochschule für bildende Künste, Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Here he began 2005 in the sculpture class of Professor Tobias Rehberger graduating in 2011.
He had solo exhibitions, among others in Opel Villas in Rüsselsheim, Germany. His works were on display art in group exhibitions Museum for Modern Art and Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, also at the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen, the Zollverein Essen and the Kunstverein of Ettlingen. He showed interventions and performances at the Volksbühne in Berlin, Schauspielhaus Frankfurt and Hamburg. 2011, together with Anselm Kiefer, he was one of two German artists who exhibited during the opening of the new wing of TAMA—Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel.
In 2008 Naneci Yurdagül received the prize for young artists of the town of Rüsselsheim, and 2011 he was awarded the Linklaters-Prize (the Städelschule tour prize). He lives and works in Frankfurt am Main.
Photo: AFP PHOTO / BORIS ROESSLER.