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Kutlug Ataman: Perfect Strangers

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


22 Jun 2005 to 04 Oct 2005

Curator: Rachel Kent

about the exhibition

Kutlug Ataman has been described as a ‘consummate storyteller’. A filmmaker and artist, he is fascinated by the ways in which people tell their own stories. Short listed for the 2005 Turner Prize and recipient of the Carnegie Prize, Ataman works from a documentary film perspective, having initially come to attention as a film-maker in Turkey. In the mid-1990s, Ataman began to center his practice on video installations, often employing multiple screens in spatial configurations. Ataman works with narrative structures, often incorporating interview footage and focusing on the lives of ordinary individuals as well as those who inhabit the margins of society. Issues of identity, sexuality and a religious/political context inform his film works, reflecting the depth and complexity of contemporary life in Turkey.

In conjunction with this exhibition at the MCA was a presentation of Ataman’s major 40 screen installation project Küba, for which he won the Carnegie Prize. Küba comprised of a series of what the artist called ‘auto-portraits’— residents of Istanbul’s ghetto area speaking direct to the camera about their lives. The work looked at how this particular space in Istanbul identified them as marginalised people, but then gave the individual a free voice to tell their own story. Commissioned by Artangel, London and co-produced in partnership with the MCA, Küba was premiered in Australia in this exhibition at Argyle Street Stores, The Rocks (20 June – 24 July 2005)

Kutlug Ataman’s Küba was commissioned by Artangel and co-produced by 54th Carnegie International 2004, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (T-B A21), Vienna, Theater der Welt 2005, Stuttgart and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. Küba was funded by Arts Council England with support from Film London.

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