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Kutlug Ataman: ‘Mesopotamian Dramaturgies’ 14 décembre 2012

Posted by Acturca in Art-Culture, Turkey / Turquie, USA / Etats-Unis.
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The New York Times (USA) Friday, December 14, 2012, p. C 29
Movies, Performing Arts/Weekend, Art in Review

By Karen Rosenberg

In his first show with the gallery Sperone Westwater, the filmmaker Kutlug Ataman ruminates on the cultural and geopolitical forces transforming his home country, Turkey. Although he has received many accolades for his longer videos, he proves himself to be equally skilled at other kinds of moving-image art. This show includes, alongside a feature-length narrative video projection, an enveloping multichannel installation and performance-based video loops.

« Mesopotamian Dramaturgies » consists of four pieces, all excellent if sometimes a little too portentous. (None would look out of place in a big international survey like Documenta or the Venice Biennale, where some of his earlier works have appeared.)

« Mayhem, » the most recent piece (from 2011), involves seven projections of rushing and cascading water. Using the floor and various screens, it entices and then overwhelms you with visions of hydraulic energy (with an intentional parallel to the Arab Spring and a seemingly prescient one to the severe weather of our New York autumn).

In another room « The Complete Works of William Shakespeare » delivers on its promise; the entire folio, written out in graceful black penstrokes by Mr. Ataman, scrolls past at a rapid and unreadable clip. The piece works beautifully in concert with « English as a Second Language, » which shows two Turkish schoolboys stammering their way through poems by Edward Lear.

On the second floor the gallery is screening Mr. Atman’s « Journey to the Moon, » a split-screen historical fiction, in color and black and white, about Anatolian villagers who make a Sputnik-inspired attempt at space travel in a vehicle fashioned from a minaret and helium balloons. It has elements of « Waiting for Guffman, » the Icarus myth and Georges Méliès’s « Voyage dans la Lune, » with shrewd world-is-flat observations from a large cast of Turkish scholars, and it should not be missed.

Sperone Westwater
257 Bowery, between Houston and Stanton Streets,
Lower East Side
Through Dec. 22


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