The directors of Blain|Southern are delighted to present Nasan Tur’s first solo exhibition with Blain|Southern Berlin, At your own____. The exhibition brings together works that explore the relationships between production and value, deception and truth, and the man-made systems that can manipulate and shape our perception of these areas. The artist considers the current socio-economic structures that exist within our globalised world, and the constructed modes of communication that mould our thoughts and responses to our contemporary environments.
Tur’s multidisciplinary practice incorporates sculpture, video, photography, drawing, performance and installation to investigate our social conditions and the individual’s mode of functioning within urban landscapes. Tur’s works often parody the politicised messages conveyed through protest, graffiti, newspaper images and the architectural fabric of a city, serving to deconstruct the effects of ideologies including Capitalism, Communism and Socialism.
Directly responding to the architecture of Blain|Southern Berlin, which previously housed the printing presses of Der Tagesspiegel newspaper, Variationen von Kapital (2013) is a site-specific installation that fills the large-scale exhibition hall. Though the installation is comprised of approximately 800 seemingly identical drawings presented in a regular grid, each drawing is in fact entirely unique, and comprised of a different spelling of the word ‘Kapital’, referencing Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, as well as ideas regarding the exploitation of labour, systems of mass production and individual artistic agency. A reflexive relationship between mechanical and hand-crafted methods of making is suggested; the initial spelling of each word is selected by a computer from approximately 40,000 possible options, with the artist then meticulously painting each selected word onto hand-torn Tibetan paper using Indian ink. When presented together, the sphere of authenticity that exists beyond the technical becomes apparent.
An accompanying video presents bankers from Frankfurt and Berlin attempting to pronounce these varying spellings of the same word, each over a half hour period. The numerous stumbling blocks and breakdowns experienced within the present economic system are thus metaphorically enacted by the perpetrating or primarily responsible labour force.
Presented upstairs is a selection of works from Tur’s Clouds series(2012), comprised of photographs that isolate and enlarge picturesque views of candy-coloured clouds taken from newspapers. The pixelated grain of the newsprint is visible, with traces of the stories overleaf permeating the surface of these images to subtly negate their peaceful aesthetics. Indeed, these images of skies are extracted from violent scenes of rioting and civil unrest, these clouds actually being hazy puffs of smoke billowing into the air. The series engages with the possibility of manipulating the truth to convey a propagandist view of reality, also evident in the video work Magic (2013), where a series of illusionistic tricks with political undertones are enacted by the artist’s own hands.
The exhibition title, At Your Own___. suggests the possibility of subverting the viewer’s own passivity, and explores both action and reaction. The sculptures Demo Kits Deluxe (2009) reference Tur’s earlier series from 2008, Demo Kits, where viewers were invited to dispense the works from vending machines placed within the public realm, each kit consisting of objects associated with demonstrations, such as spray paint and protest banners. The ‘deluxe version’ of these demonstration kits is constructed using precious metals, rare hardwoods and sumptuous satins, inverting the purpose of these normally ephemeral items and disempowering the visitor, perhaps commenting on capitalist systems’ tendency to absorb and ultimately commodify oppositional actions.
Nasan Tur was born in Offenbach, Germany (1974). He studied at the Art Academy Städelschule, Frankfurt and the Academy of Arts and Design, Offenbach, Germany. Tur’s work reflects the social conditions in which it is produced, often exploring political ideologies, subliminal messages, and the symbols of power and dissent that are present throughout the urban landscape. An exploration of the tension between public action and inaction is intrinsic to his practice, with a participatory element often implicating the subjectivity or presence of the viewer. The boundaries of communication, as well as the tentative, or fragile nature of perception, are both driving forces behind the practice of the artist, and many of the situations that that he creates. Nasan Tur lives and works in Berlin.