Nezaket Ekici

Nezaket Ekici, Short but Hurting, Documentation of the Performance, Still, Video, 6:18 min, 2007/2008.

Nezaket Ekici, *1970 in Kirsehir, Turkey

lives and works in Berlin and Stuttgart. Her work includes performances, videos and installations. She has shown more than 120 different performances in over 30 countries. In her numerous performances, the German-Turkish artist tries to stimulate the dialogue between the cultures. She deals with both German and Turkish culture, traditions, clichés and contradictions. Radical and reaching to the limits of the physically feasible, Ekici explores biographically connotated themes.

For ‚Flesh (No Pig but Pork‘), the Muslim artist digs up 100 kg of meat from a freshly slaughtered pig, in ‚Thorn in My Side‘ she wears a toothpick-clad dress and imitates images of Christian iconography, for ‚Atropos‘ she threads her hair to the ceiling and then cuts it off strand by strand, visualizing an act of self-liberation.

On the work in the exhibition:

In the Performance and the Videodocumentation ‚Short but Hurting‘, the artist virtually stabs a man, who is invisible but audible. Whenever the artist stabs the air with her sword, a man in the background screams as if stabbed to death. With each repetition the tragedy of events increases and becomes more and more unbearable. The viewer has to explore to which extend he or she is willing to bear the tension.

The work refers to a picture of Caravagio (Judith beheads Holofernes, 1598). The account of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith is given in the Book of Judith. Holofernes, an Assyrian general, was about to destroy her hometown. In the story, Judith, a beautiful widow, is able to outwit and kill him by exploiting his sexual desire for her. Most artists show Judith by putting her sexualized femininity in stark contradiction with her masculine aggression.

Ekicis‘ performance with its repetition of stabbing and screams, that over time raises the tension and uncomfort and through the strong physical presence of the performer, confronts the viewer with the torment of the victim but also the pysical effort of killing. Although Ekici is stressing her feminity with her choice of outfit – a red, silken dress – her act of performing sets aside the feminity and sexualization of Judith. She is emphasizing the virtuality of medial productions – the victim is not present. But through her performance, that in reality leads her to the limits of her physical capacity, she exposes the viewer to the disturbing act of killing.

Prizes and Scholarships:

She was awarded a scholarship for Artists in Residence of the Künstlerdorf Schöppingen Foundation in 2003, the GASAG Art Award Berlin in 2004 and the Artists in Residence scholarship of the Barkenhoff Foundation Künstlerhäuser Worpswede and a fellowship for Artists in Residence at the BM Contemporary Art Center in 2005 , Istanbul, Turkey. In 2007 she was awarded the Wiepersdorf Scholarship for Artists in Residence and in 2008 the scholarship of the Fado International Artist in Residence, IDea series, Toronto, Canada. In 2010 he received a working scholarship for visual arts in Berlin, 2013/14 an Artists in Residence scholarship at the cultural academy Tarabya Istanbul, Turkey and in 2016/17 the Villa Massimo scholarship. She has conducted worldwide performance projects through scholarships from the Goethe-Institut in Los Angeles / USA (2006), the Goethe-Institut of Tbilissi & Ankara (2009), the Goethe-Institut of Athens, Hanoi and Saigon (2010) and the Goethe-Institut were supported by Ghana.