A solo show by Pia Rönicke & Zeynel Abidin Kizilyaprak
From September 13 to November 8, 2008
‘An Usual Story From a Nameless Country’
“An Usual Story from a Nameless Country” takes as its starting point the encounter between Pia Rönicke and the Kurdish writer Zeynel Abidin Kızılyaprak. This exhibition questions the way stories are lived, told, shared and retransmitted. The key work of the exhibition, the film “Facing”, has been realized in a constant exchange between the artist and the writer: this dialogue is used to forge a common filmic space. Based on the short story “Knock… Knock… Knock…” by Kızılyaprak, the film depicts one of his experiences in a Turkish torture house. It centres around the meeting between Kadir, a young revolutionary, and an old religious man, each helping the other despite their distant systems of belief. The narrative develops through different modes of enunciation: the voice-over passing from the “I” of a character-narrator recounting the facts in the first person singular to the “he” of an omniscient narrator. This simultaneity of discourses and temporalities – from the experience lived in 1980 to its re-enactment, from the writing of the novel to the realization of the film – disrupts the traditional linear narrative and infiltrates the continuity of the story.
Also presented in the exhibition, is series of photographs documenting the shooting as well as a set of film stills, which together create a kind of mise en abîme of this story. The different modes of narrative present in this show, from fiction to documentary, from the autobiography to the collective history, allow for many access points into the story and encourage the viewers to gather and rebuild their own narrative.
Pia Rönicke’s work reveals her fascination with modernist and political utopias while at the same time underlining their disillusioning characteristics. It intertwines her own story, her encounters, and on the spirit of the time: when politicians, writers, artists and architects were working in collaboration in order to create a modern society. In “An Usual Story from a Nameless Country”, the artist revives these same issues, through the prism of the Kurdish situation, individual engagement, identity abuses, disappearance and loss, while reinventing them and conjuring new forms. It is as if the artist’s duty was to continually reread history and inscribe her own vision within it.
The film “Facing - An Usual Story from a Nameless Country” has been produced with the support of Montehermoso Cultural Center (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain), Casco (Utrecht, Netherlands) and of the Danish Art Council.