FAIR PLAY 2007 teaser
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Esra Ersen (TR/GB)
Perfect /Growing Older (Dis) gracefully, 2006

film still

Perfect is a critical examination of the universal process of regeneration, where change is typically not organic, but grows out of decisions made by governing bodies rather than local residents.
Ersen has been struck by the radical transformation currently taking place in Liverpool and the impact upon its inhabitants. Regeneration promises a new identity for the city in the run-up to being European Capital of Culture. Acting as a kind of urban planner, transferring her methods from city to person, Ersen has performed a makeover on a long standing resident of Liverpool. Transforming her, Ersen provokes questions about the changing city as a whole. The work reveals the contradictions inherent within visual regeneration and becomes a metaphor for its processes. Just as with a makeover, it is only the façade of a city that is transformed: the internal structures remain the same.

“I am producing site-specific works that deal with the socio-political, economical, geographical contexts. My production evolves around the non-linear narration through codes. One of the primordial aspects of interpreting and reinterpreting codes enable the references to the system, bearing in mind that the local and global influence and form each other so that I am interested in both sides of this process. The minimal-that is to say, the daily life practices, the unattended aspects of the daily consequences- enables an understanding of the global and how that functions moreover minimal can lead us to a wider understanding of the global from a different point of view. Hence the term global is used either as the local global, for instance the city or the country is the global scale for the specific site I produce or a larger context that includes various geographies.
The minimal enables my production that is highly focused on identity, marginality and the on-the-edge circumstance of those concepts such as the migration, to spring in different expressions. I am interested in the codes of identity in local scale and how they are constructed or presented as well as how they can be deconstructed and the transformation of identity can take place. The erasure of distance, that is constructed with the other, by figuring out the similarities (Encounter, 1995); the reflections on identities of an icon that belongs to a specific power structure and carried to a different context ( I am Turkish, I am Dilligent, I am Honest, 1998); constructing the other ( Bettina, Susanne, Esra, 1999; I am gonna cook exotic dinner for you, 1999); transformation and reformation of identity (western Europa, 2000; Artist Deputy, 2000; traversing the expectations on the other and irony( Hello Where is it?, 2000; Hamam, 2001); pointing out the power structures beneath the promised life that is constructed by stereotypical features of identity (Which one you choose?, 2003). Additionally, my interest on the marginal and its norms follows the path of figuring out the reasoning of such definitions and positioning so that my production focuses on deconstructing that frames through the similarities. The video works titled This is the Disney World, 2000; Brothers&Sisters, 2003; Testimony, 2003 can be given as the outcomes of my attitude. Also, in the installation titled Some People, 1997, the exclusion principle turns back to the decision mechanism, in other words the power structure deciphers its self. The works listed reveals the potential that has never gained recognition, the existing potential of the street kid or the black people takes my interest so that I am trying to reflect in a positioning of fruitful source for opening up new platforms in the society, that is to say the new perspective on actualities or the unthought aspects can be gained through the performing of the excluded.
Followingly, the urge of defining the self through the other creates a dual coding that is to say the codes of the situated other and the codes of the own who defines the other. If you could speak Swedish, 2001 focusses on the language that is a tool for integration processes; Im Straf Raum, 2001 reflects the state of being in the Diaspora; my urge to understand the illegal migration in my geography Brothers&Sisters, 2003; the will to form alternative ways of service to immigrants Waiting Area, 2004; the segregated state of the immigrants in suburban areas which the process is being held by the housing company without the implicit aspects of the situations is taken into consideration in Parachutists on the Third Floor, Birds in Laundry, 2005.
I do not work with a specific medium so that my work can be a video installation or photography that can be evaluated as outcomes of my site-specific production. The production period has many dynamics, so that my urge of trying to involve every aspect of the specific area and the participants so that the duration of my production is usually a long-term process. I am mostly interested in the potential, either the potential of the people I work with or the potential of the space or the structure. So that I do not write down a script but rather let things flow in the frame of the context.”
[Esra Ersen]

This production was supported by The Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art and The Tate Liverpool



Born 1970 in Ankara, Turkey. Lives and works in Berlin.


1999/00 Ecole Beauxs-Arts de Nantes,Post-Diplom Program, Nantes, France
1992/95 Marmara University The Faculty of Fine Arts, Post Graduate, Istanbul, Turkey
1988/92 Marmara University The Faculty of Fine Arts, Istanbul, Turkey

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2007 Elsewhere, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Swiss
2006 Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt, Germany
2005 The O.K Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria
2002 Bild Museet, Umea, Sweden
2001 If You Could Speak Swedisch, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
1997 Macka Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul, Turkey
1995 Diologues, Yerebatan Cisterne, BM Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey

Selected Group Exhibitions

Is this fiction, Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey
A forest and a tree , Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Wien, Austria
How to live together, 27th Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Liverpool Biennial , Liverpool, UK
EurHope 1153, Villa Manin Centre for Contemporary Art , Codroipo, Italy
Verstehst Du das?, Austellungshalle für zeitgenössische Kunst, Münster, Germany
The Peninsula, Singapore History Museum, Singapore
Cooling Out - on the paradox of feminism, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, Cork, Irland
Cooling Out - on the paradox of feminism, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel, Swiss
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA
EuroPART. Public art project throughout Austria, Austria
Rundlederwelten, Martin Groupius Bau, Berlin, Germany
EindhovenIstanbul, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Pursuit of Happiness, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Moving..on…, NGBK, Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin, Germany
Sous les ponts, le long de la riviere…2, Casino Luxembourg, Luxemburg
2052 Malmo no Longer be Swedish, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, Sweden
Normalization, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey
A forest and a tree, Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Yellow Bird Gallery, NY, USA
Other, Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway
Der Knochen der Zunge, Medienturm, Graz, Austria
Xenopolis, RathausGalerie, München, Germany
Hilchot Shchenim Chapter C, Israeli Digital Art Lab Holon, Israel
It´s Hard to Touch the Real, Yeans Göteborg, Sweden
Coalesce, Model Arts & Niland Gallery, Sligo, Ireland
Effort, Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, San Sebastián, Spain
Minority Report: Challenging Intolerance in Contemporary Denmark, Aarhus,
Continental Breakfast, Belgrade Cultural Centre, Serbia and Montenegro
Re:Location Casino Luxembourg-Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg
Swedish Heart, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
(EA)Stories, K&S Galerie, Berlin, Germany
Borderline, kino arsenal, Berlin, Germany
Shake Society, Casino Luxembourg-Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg
Exciting Europe, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, Germany
Trading Places, The Pump House Gallery, London, UK
Green Box, Trafo gallery, Budapest, Hungary
Along the Gates of the Urban, Galerie K & S, Berlin, Germany
Call me Istanbul, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany
Arte Fierra, Bollogna, Italy
Revolution is Not What it Used to Be, S1 Artspace , Sheffield, UK
Poetic Juctice, 8th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
The way of the ideas, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain
10th Biennial of Moving Images, The Centre for Contemporary Images Saint Gervais, Swiss
In the gorges of the Balkans, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany
Where? Here? , The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
How Latitudes Become Forms, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
Real Utopia, <Rotor>,Graz Culture Capital of Europe, Graz, Austria
Totally Motivated, Kunstverein München, Münich, Germany
It Is Hard To Touch The Real, Kunstverein München, Münich, Germany
Here, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey
How Latitudes Become Forms, Walker Art Center, Minnepolis, USA
Manifesta 4, Europan Biennial of Contemporary Art, Frankfurt, Germany
Pause, 4 th Kwangju Biennial, Kwangju, Korea
What? A tale in free images, Memling Museum, Burgge, Belgium
Animation:Video, Centre d’édition contemporaine,Genève, Swiss
In Search for Balkania, Neue Galerie, Graz, Austria
City of Women, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Art and Documentary, TEMPO Documentary Festival, Stockholm, Sweden
On my way to Timbuktoo, ifa Galerie Berlin, Bonn, Germany
Under the Sign of the City, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany
Becoming a Place, Istanbul Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey
Dare to be different, organized by Cultural Art Center Lind Art, Fier, Albanian
Standardrum, Randers Kunstmuseum, Randers, Denmark
Divine Comedy, Galerie Urart, Istanbul, Turkey
Between Condition and Construction, ifu-open space, Hannover, Germany
Showview, Galerie 5020, Salzburg, Austria
Activ-Reactiv, Lieu Unique, Nantes, France
MK2 projekt cafee, video program, Paris, France
International Boutique, Galery Lafeyett, Nantes, France
SansSousi, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, Germany
Spring Time, Nicolaj Contemporary Art Center, Cophenagen, Denmark
One night stand, Klemens Gasner & Tanja Grunert, New York, USA
Mode of Art, Düsseldorf Kunstverein, Düsseldorf , Germany
Relation with an Other, Galellery Emsdetten, Emsdetten, Germany
Society and Communitiy, ACC Gallery,Weimar, Germany
Art Hansa Special, Hansa Gymnasium, Köln, Germany
Interfaces, Paleantologisches Museum, Münster, Germany
Dialogues-art in scools, Real Schule Velen, Münsterland, Germany
Dialogues/the lost idea of the oder of things, AKM, Istanbul, Turkey
Dialogues/the lost idea of the oder of things Kunstpalast im Ehrenhof, Düsseldorf
A Ding Table, BM Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey
Orient/ation, 4 th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
16th. Istanbul Exhibition, Painting and Sculpture Museum, Istanbul, Turkey
Borders and Beyond, TUYAP, Istanbul, Turkey
15 th Istanbul Exhibition, Painting and Sculpture Museum, Istanbul, Turkey
Hope and Responsibilitiy, Ship of City Lines, Istanbul, Turkey
14 th Istanbul Exhibition, Painting and Sculpture Museum, Istanbul, Turkey

Selected Grants and Residencies

Delfina / Visiting Arts, International Fellowship Programme, London, UK
Casino Luxembourg-Forum d’art Contemporain, Luxembourg
Rooseum Center For Contemporary Art, Malmö, Sweden
IASPIS, Stockholm, Sweden
Ecole Beauxs-Arts de Nantes,Post-Diplom Program, Nantes, France
Stiftung Kulturfonds, Künstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf, Brandenburg, Germany
NRW-fondation, Künstlerdorf Schoppingen, Münsterland, Germany
ACC Gallery and Stadt Weimar, Weimar, Germany.

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