Was it Nevin Aladağ's training as a sculptor that heightened her sense of the limits and boundaries of objects or the identity of forms? Through her works, interventions and performances, one is inevitably made aware of the boundaries within which certain practices, be they cultural or social, evolve.
Approaching her work in terms of sculptural practice, one tends to relate it to questions of the situation or position of a volume and its relations to the surrounding context, frame or space. Although this seems not to be her main interest, all of her projects reveal a subtle anaylsis of the rules of the spatial environment in which the works take place. But even in constructed situations, she seems to be performing boundaries, some of them invisible or intangible, rather than stressing the "being" of forms.
This may be why many of her projects take on the character of signs or gestures in the urban fabric, the kind that evaporate and pass, a temporal quality often reenacted by the screening of a video document. The ephemeral nature of the acts she produces is at odds with common notions of identity as a "given" condition with a relative longevity or at least attitudes and ways of being that are considered to be hard to change.
Aladağ has also often "acted out" popular cultural practices related to group identity, of migrant communities or social class or both at the same time. Wherever she evokes such practices, as in the contrasting cultural tropes of tradition and modernity in folk music and western pop, both of which are enacted in the urban fabric in City Language I and II, it is rhythm that points beyond their interpretation as mere signs. In one case it's the slow flow of nature that underlines their origin, in the other it's hectic movement, but both are signs of a cultural (and social) identity that seems neither confined nor confinable to a specific territory. Instead, the nature of their manifestations (music, language) suggests their potential for being malleable, for being transported throughout a city, for not being confineable to a given geographic territory, for crossing urban borders.
It is the way Aladağ introduces the notion of boundaries being entangled with identity and the ephemeral nature of the signs that perform identities in flux which gives her works its own place in the debate on issues of culture and globalization.
Author: Dirk Snauwaert
Nevin Aladağ has gained international attention for her installations, video works and performances. Her works have been widely shown internationally, in various solo- and group exhibitions at institutions including Sharjah Biennal 2013, MOT-Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo; Haus der Kunst, Munich; Hayward Gallery, London; The XIV Biennale Internazionale di Scultura, Carrara; The 11th Istanbul Biennial; The 8th Taipei Biennial, Taiwan; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel; Mathildenhöhe, Darmstadt; ARTER Vehbi Koc Foundation Istanbul, TBA 21 Thyssen Bornemisza Contemporary and Museo Tamayo in Mexico City among others. In 2013 the Centre Pompidou in Paris has acquired Nevin Aladağ's film Session.
Spunk Seipel: offspaces & sites 1.0 – Außergewöhnliche Ausstellungsorte abseits des etablierten Kunstmarktes. Unusual Exhibition Spaces Beyond the Establishes Art Market, GKS/Fachverlag für den Kunstmarkt, 2013
Modernity? Perspectives from France and Turkey, Istanbul Modern, Ed. Esin Eskinat, Istanbul, 2013
Beyond the surface, KAI 10, Raum für Kunst, Arthena Foundation, Kettler Verlag, 2012
A HOUSE FULL OF MUSIC Strategien in Musik und Kunst, Publ. Ralf Beil, Peter Kraut, Hatje Cantz
Nevin Aladağ, Sahne│Stage. Edited by Ilkay Balic, Arter Istanbul, 2012
Berlin 2000 – 2011. Playing among the Ruins. Exhibition catalogue, September 23, 2011 – January 9, 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokio
Nevin Aladağ, Verlag Silke Schreiber, Munich 2011
Eyes looking for a head to inhabit, Muzeum Sztuki W Lodzi, 30.09.-11.12.2011, Museum Sztuki and the authors, 2011
Heimatkunde 30 Künstler blicken auf Deutschland, Publ. Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Hirmer, 2011
Nevin Aladağ, Frieze Spin, Publ. Künstlerhaus Bethanien