Off the Record
2 April – 28 August 2022
Museumpark, Westzeedijk 341 - 3015 AA Rotterdam
© Erkan Özgen, Purple Muslin (2018), video still. Produced by the Han Nefkens Foundation
The Han Nefkens Foundation is glad to announce the exhibition “Off the Record” by artist Erkan Özgen at Kunsthal Rotterdam, which will take place from the 2nd April to the 28th August 2022.
The exhibition will include two productions by the Han Nefkens Foundation: Purple Muslin (2018) and Aesthetics of Weapons (2018).
In 'Off the Record', Kunsthal Rotterdam shows five impressive video works by the Kurdish artist Erkan Özgen (Turkey, 1971). Although Özgen's work deals with complex issues surrounding war, trauma, and violence, he makes a conscious decision not to use explicitly violent images. He compensates for the daily flood of information on conflicts around the world, as this makes it easy to forget that, behind the numbers and horrific images, real people are involved. Özgen makes the viewers aware of this by giving the consequences of war a human face. Victims are given a voice in his work.
For Purple Muslin (2018) Özgen collaborated with a group of Yazidi women. After escaping various IS attacks they are now staying in a refugee camp in northern Iraq. In the video they talk about their experiences of kidnapping, abuse, and starvation. The traumas of these women are not only conveyed by what they tell, but also by the tone of their voice. The colourful patterns in their clothing sharply contrast with their testimonies.
Aesthetics of Weapons (2018) sheds light on an entirely different aspect of violence than the abovementioned works. An anonymous police officer talks about how much he loves his weapon: "I see it as an old friend or a life partner." We can see him loading, unloading, aiming, and cleaning his gun, and practicing how to shoot. In his line of work, guns are meant to protect people. However, these same weapons cause a lot of harm.
Erkan Özgen (Turkey, 1971) lives and works in Diyarbakır, Turkey. In 2000 he graduated from the Çukurova University’s Painting Department. Since then he has been mainly working in the medium of video and has participated in group exhibitions in various countries in Europe and Asia, and in the United States. His work was exhibited during the 15th Istanbul Biennial in 2017, and Manifesta 12, and is part of many private and public collections, including those of Tate Modern, London, Collection Pinault Venice and Paris, Pinakothek Munich, and the Han Nefkens Foundation. Apart from an artist, Özgen is also a lecturer on contemporary art in Turkey and abroad, an ecological activist, and co-founder of Loading Independent Art Space in Diyarbakır.
About Kunsthal Rotterdam
Kunsthal Rotterdam is one of the leading cultural institutes in the Netherlands, situated in the Museumpark in Rotterdam. Designed by the renowned architect Rem Koolhaas in 1992, the Kunsthal has seven different exhibition spaces. The Kunsthal annually presents a varied programme consisting of about 23 exhibitions. As there are always several different exhibitions to be visited at any given time, the Kunsthal offers an adventurous journey through different continents and art movements. Culture for a wide audience, from modern-day masters and contemporary art to obscure cultures, photography, fashion, and design. An extensive programme of activities is organised to accompany the exhibitions.