AboutDeniz Sözen's practice investigates the concept of culture, subjectivity and the unresolved nature of belonging. Her work combines films, found objects, personal archives, and crafted artefacts. Through the multitude of symbols, subtitles and voices layered in several languages in her films, images and installations, she explores the multi-layered nature of culture and identity. Sözen tackles the barrier of the untranslatable, of that which defies meaning and is therefore often explained by superficial stereotypes. By questioning her identity as an artist and as an ethnic 'curiosity' (as both Austrian and Turkish) through the creation of her British alter ego Suzan Dennis, Sözen reveals the simple-mindedness of most attempts to deal with multi-ethnicity. Every notion of a coherent and fixed identity that the audience may have lurking in their minds as a preconception, is thrown into question. Situated between the demand for exotism, political correctness and sheer misinterpretation, Sözen's work has to face the challenge to counter-act and disrupt stereotypical images of âotherness' often promoted by a Euro-American-centric art market.
The symposium Culture and Location on Wednesday 17th March, provides a critical framework to question the notion of âbelonging' and cultural translation in contemporary art, featuring speakers from the arts and cultural theory: Anton Lederer, rotor (Graz, Austria), artist Harold Offeh (London, UK), artist and writer Dr. Rachel Garfield (London, UK), and Deniz Sözen. Artist and musician Korhan Erel (Istanbul, Turkey) will perform his work and Austrian based artist Rashid Badreldin will create a culinary feature with food for guests. Culture and Location will be chaired by Edgar Schmitz (Goldsmiths College, London) and is in partnership with the
Journey's With No Return, an exhibition at the A Foundation, London and conference at the Goethe Institut, London on 19th February, exploring how culture is transformed through migration and the influence of Turkish migration on contemporary practitioners. Using the discussions from Journey's With No Return and Sözenâs work as a point of departure, the symposium will investigate ways in which artists and cultural activists can challenge assumptions about cultural identity.
In parallel with the be longing private view on Tuesday 16th March at 7pm, the Austrian Cultural Forum will host a special screening of Gurbet In Der Fremde (Gurbert, Away from Home) written and directed by Kenan Kiliç with a Q&A session afterwards.
The Visual Arts Platform is curated by Eva Martischnig and Adriana Marques and presents emerging artists from or working in Austria, through residencies, artist's talks and critical symposiums. The Visual Arts Platform is hosted by the Austrian Cultural Forum London which facilitates cultural exchange between Austria and the UK. The Visual Arts Platform began in 2006 and continues into its fifth year in 2010.
Symposium: Wednesday 17th March: 6.30 9 pm
Culture and Location: Fantasies of Belonging in Contemporary Art