PEER, is working in partnership with LUX to present a dual-venue exhibition of work by Dutch-based Turkish-born artist belit sağ. The artist works with found media images and easily accessible forms of moving image making to find ways to examine larger political topics in a personal, and often intimate way. PEER and LUX will present recent works, while the exhibition at PEER will also include a newly completed video.
sağ has described her overarching theme as being an interest in the ‘violence of images and images of violence’ and her work often reflects how contemporary society in Turkey is affected by its political regimes over the span of 40 years, and its use of censorship as a tool for State control. Throughout her work, the artist persistently questions the role that image-making can or should play as a means of recording violence and destruction and in the expression of protest and grief.
One of works that sağ will present is a three-screen installation from 2015 entitled my camera seems to recognise people. In this work the artist “questions what it means to look at death and wounded through the lens of a camera” and how the dispassionate face recognition software which is built into many cameras can have the unsettling ability to victimise its subjects, at the same time pointing out the ability to recognise and relate to the lives of people through image making mediums.
The new work for PEER is titled what remains, and is constructed from images that sağ shot and gathered during 2015 and 2016 in Cizre, a primarily Kurdish town in Turkey on the Syrian border, as well as found footage from all over Turkey from the same period. A focus of the work is the artist’s footage of collective Kurdish mourning practices, and looking at how images of the dead are used in these practices. sağ approaches her subject both philosophically and emotionally, and is driven to find a way of making work that is theoretically rigorous and morally and ethically compassionate. She has commented:
This video is an attempt at ‘giving the images back to the ones who gave them to us’, it aims to 'allow the ghosts to come back', and revisit the images, re-think the recent history… On the one hand video can manipulate, on the other it can heal, it can co-conspire, help you go back and forth, re-visit, refresh the memory, it can also make you re-live the violence as well, it is an earthly friend that connects you to many beings stuck between life and death, past and present.
sağ has exhibited at a number of significant galleries and institutions in the US and Europe, but this will be her first monographic show of her work in the UK.