Proje 4L Eligiz Museum of Contemporary Art
    July 20 – August 9, 2007

    Artvarium, The project room of the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art is now exhibiting Nancy Atakan’s video installation: “and”. The video, “and”, was made by using a range of media including film, photography, drawing, stop motion animation, collage, poetry and sound.

    Encountering Nancy Atakan’s work, the viewer on one hand is exposed to the naïve expression representing her personal history and inner world while on the other hand is left alone with the philosophical inquiry that the work contains. The work does not betray itself in a heavy, incomprehensible, dark frame, but it is loaded with vital cognizance that does not let the viewer to pass by.

    Language and the ambiguity it causes are the main themes of Atakan’s work. Relationships, connections, translations are her keywords. Using these keywords, she arrives at “and” as a symbol of all three. “and” intends to connect two words, two sentences, two concepts, two meanings, however, it never succeeds literally. It stays always in between, desperate to create a connection, written in small letters, meaningless without the elements that it is to connect…

    Nancy Atakan, in this video, puts herself in the place of “and”; committed to function as “and”, she tries to connect two personal dream places. One of these places contains her drawings and the other photographs. Even though she appears to walk and move through the animation and video in both places, the artist is not actually in either, nor is she totally outside. She is in neither of the places, acts as “and” where she is always in between, tries desperately to connect them, even though she is aware of the impossibility of reaching either.

    There are slight differences between the text of the video that is written and read by the artist and the one hung on the wall. The wall text plays with the ambiguity in meaning that the word “and” creates, whereas the text of the video stresses the function of “and” and it’s perpetual in between state.

    Işın Önol
    Proje 4L curator
    Article for exhibition catalogue

    “and” Exhibition as a

    Duchamp, who stopped making art to play chess, spoke about the futility of making art. In his opinion, because an artwork could never demonstrate obsession perfectly, it remains insufficient to eliminate an artist’s pain, and is therefore useless. When a thing is translated from an emotional language into an artistic one, when changed from one language into another, it always loses something and undergoes change…Nancy Atakan, who produces work about language, representation and transformation, starts from relationships, translations and the unconditional emotional, intellectual, aesthetic and artistic language of the language under consideration. Beginning from the general impossibility of translation, Atakan in the artwork entitled “and” puts herself into the position of “and”. The linguistic definition of “and” requires it to connect two works or two sentences to one another. It makes a connection between two things. It is always in between and has no meaning by itself.

    Believing it time to introduce visual language into the “and” series, the artist plays with its meaning while emphasizing the words function and its perpetual “in between-ness”. Along with the video film that visualizes this game, the “and’ text printed on a transparent material hangs on the opposite wall. In the video projected onto the wall, the artist can be seen traveling between different spaces. The story of “and” began in 1999 when Nancy Atakan wrote this text/poem in English using a pencil and a plain piece of paper. Later, this was followed by an exhibition of her translation of the text into Turkish. Then one of her students corrected her Turkish. A few years later, the transformed text translated into Dutch was exhibited in Holland. The artist began to have this continually transforming text translated into languages of the countries she visited. In the artist’s words, “and” became more and more poetic, an object/poem, an additive sculpture. Eventually, she transferred the text from a written language to spoken language as she changed the text just a bit and read it in English. According to Atakan, it was time to transfer “and” into a visual language. Using the black and white drawings prepared from photographs of caves and photographs of seascapes as spaces, she made an animation. By moving between these spaces the artist herself became “and”. While connecting imaginary places, Atakan, neither completely inside nor outside the space, neither there nor not there, behaves like “and” as she attempts to connect spaces, sounds, writing, and images. As soon as the spectator confronts “and” in an indirect manner he/she becomes a subject of the conceptual/questioning/meaning processes of the artwork. The work is surprisingly poetical and stimulating. The surreal, fatalistic atmosphere of the work is also loaded with visuality.

    Derya Yucel
    Birgun Newspaper
    August 23, 2007