In addition to exhibiting here at Konsthallen, and curating the exhibition /Fragments of the Future/, Fikret Atay has also been the Municipality of Örebro’s ICORN artist-in-residence since 2017. As we see here, he is primarily a media artist who has left a number of acclaimed video works behind him since graduating from Dicle University in Turkey.
Born and raised in the Turkish city of Batman near the Iraqi border, Atay grew up experiencing the contradictions between Eastern and Western cultures, between civilian and military presence, tradition and revolt, between remaining in one’s own culture or fleeing oppression by migrating into another.
His art is often characterized by the contrasts between a marginalized culture and an overshadowing authoritarian state power. He rarely depicts this ‘edge of the wound’ in clear confrontations, however, but rather in the silent protest against the official truth’s culture of silence against marginalized groups such as minorities.
His way of working is cinematic and often narrative. He often links to historical film references, or paraphrases them.
Migration is a theme often seen in his works, including this one, /The Flood/ in Konsthallen, which is strongly linked to the wave of migration that has been washing over Western Europe for several years now. The many perilous journeys over the Mediterranean Sea provide the staging for this work. It concludes with an open question about how many people actually never made the journey and about how our time of fake news endangers all interpretation of ‘true’ truth in both traditional media channels as well as online in various flows with hidden agendas and unclear sources.
In he second work, he fuses a Kurdish tradition that proves to be just as traditional but nearly forgotten here: the village drum. In earlier times, it was the village drummer’s task to summon the people when something important had occurred or something needed to be announced.
Fikret Atay lets the drummer pass through central Vivalla, the home of people of many different nationalities. Through the work’s staging, it becomes both a resurgence of a local tradition whose tools are today delegated to museums, and a celebration of fellowship between people of diverse cultural origins.