Nevin Aladağ

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Nevin Aladag: Significant Other (Videostill, 2011)
Nevin Aladağ: Significant Other, 2011 (Foto: Tobi Albertshof))


Nevin Aladağ (born in 1972, lives in Berlin) is a visual artist with a background in sculpture. She works with conceptual and ambiguous installations using sculptural objects whose original use value is pointedly emphasized by the artist and removed with an often minimal aesthetic reticence from everyday contexts and given a new twist. A similar composition and displacement of real and metaphorical meaning can be found in her urban interventions and arrangements, as well as the choreographies that have been developed over the past few years that Aladağ has had actresses and dancers perform. Her varied media works explore what are the driving forces and forces of dissolution in social communities and how individual interests and counter representations are articulated within normative social contexts.

Significant Other
HD-video, 2011

The video installation Significant Other is the implementation of an original live performance. Two actors, a woman and a man, each stand on a pedestal, whose shape recalls a wedding cake. Audible are voices of individuals with whom Aladağ carries out interviews on their private social relationships and which differ according to age, gender, origin, and their familial status. Both actors now ‘speak’ these monologues and dialogues, by simply synchronically moving their lips, mimicking moves and facial expressions. As a refrain, just as in a song, we can hear the Milli Vanilli hit and playback scandal ‘Girl, You Know It’s True’, sung in a new version and performed by the musician couple Joy Denalane and Max Herre. Both performers are dressed in identical loose-fitting white leather suits that have openings or gaps in numerous places. The actresses, depending on which person is speaking at the moment, reach in various ways into the openings, and thus negotiate the different variants of coded body language. In so doing, the gender attributing gestures and poses are exchanged back and forth between the two performers, just as the attributions of male and female, young and old, German and non-German original sounds are mixed. In these role playing games between the fictional couple, friends or a flat share, identity is interpreted as a object of negotiation and performance. The title Significant Other comes from the gender-neutral term for a partner or spouse. Playing with sound collage, body staging, and gender indifference, Nevin Aladağ reflects in an entertaining way the development of pluralized patterns of relationship and alludes to the desire for subjective identities, understanding difference as a constitutive characteristic.


Nevin Aladag: Leaning Wall, 2012 (Installationsansicht), Foto: Susi Bodmer
Nevin Aladağ: Leaning Wall, 2012 (installation view) Foto: Susi Bodmer 


Leaning Wall
Installation, ceramics, 2012

Around 50 negative prints of female and male bodies have been burned into ceramic and glazed in various colours. The prints in their original sizes are installed as grips or rocks on a wall, like a climbing wall. Leaning Wall is the title of this work by Nevin Aladağ, which as a generous gesture that appropriates space, promises footing where there is none. The body imprints seem like a perfect fit, at the same time supra-individual and individual. In so doing, female and male knee, chin, elbow or hand can hardly be distinguished from one another. The body imprints become a puzzle of non-gender-specific traces, and point out that we are all individuals with ‘male’ and ‘female’ components and attributes. The sculptural composition of real body overlays questions the determinism of biological gender in terms of its theoretical deconstruction. LeaningWall positions identity in the antagonism between gender stereotypes and the desire to dissolve these borders. The symbolic reliance of the work on a sport from the world of Alpine mountain climbing, which today as modern self-disciplining speaks equally to body and agility, points to our life in a society of high achievement, in which the tuning of the body is just as important as the tuning of the self. And this is true for all genders and identities. The equal control of all individuals under the competitive pressure to succeed is today considered the supposed redemption of demands for equal rights. Leaning Wall can thus be read as reflections about playing rules of social success by way of bodily discipline and the fitness craze. 

difference as a constitutive characteristic