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Elective Affinities: Diaries as a space of histories with Banu Cennetoglu, Katerina Tselou, Arnisa Zeqo

July 14, 2017 20.00

Public Presentation


Presented by

Documenta 14


Gurbet’s Diary (27.07.1995–08.10.1997) (2016–17)
82,661 words in mirror image, 107 days, and 145 press-ready lithographic limestone slabs
Length: 900 cm, weight: 1800 kg

This public presentation takes the work that Banu Cennetoglu developed for documenta 14 in Athens as a departure point for opening a discussion on diaries, the intimate annotation of one’s life as a site for alternative narrations of history.

Yüreğimi Dağlara Nakşettim ( I Engraved My Heart into the Mountains) is the diary of Gurbetelli Ersöz kept between July 27 1995, and October 8 1997.

Gurbetelli Ersöz (1965-1997) was a Kurdish journalist, the first woman to be editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem (1993) and a freedom fighter. On December 10, 1993, the newspaper’s headquarters in Istanbul was raided and more than 90 people were detained. Editor-in-chief Gurbetelli Ersöz and her 17 colleagues were arrested and after 13 days of heavy torture, sentenced to a prison term of three years and nine months. Although she was released in June 1994, she was exhausted and not allowed to practice her profession. In July 1995, she decided to join the guerrilla forces.
Originally written in Turkish, Yüreğimi Dağlara Nakşettim was first published in 1998 by Mesopotamien Verlag in Cologne, Germany, and then in 2014 by Aram Yayınevi in Diyarbakır, Turkey. Today, the 26th of February 2017, in Turkey there are 151 journalists in prison and 177 media and news outlets are sealed. Hundreds of books are banned. Ersözʼ diary, being one of them, is both a personal account and a factual document of about 40 years of on-going war and its multiple allies. Gurbetelli Ersöz was killed on October 8 1997 in Southern Kurdistan.

Banu Cennetoğlu lives and works in Istanbul / Berlin. She explores the political, social and cultural dimension of the production, representation and distribution of knowledge and asks how it feeds into a society’s collective thought and becomes part of its ideology. Recent exhibitions include It is obvious from the map, REDCAT, Los Angeles (2017) ; Documenta 14, Athens &Kassel (2017) ;The Restless Earth, Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan (2017) .She participated in 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014); Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010); 53rd Venice Biennale/Pavilion of Turkey (2009); 3rd Berlin Biennale (2008); 1st Athens Biennale (2007) and 10th Istanbul Biennale (2007).In 2006 she initiated BAS, a ¬project space in Istanbul focusing on collection and production of artists’ books and printed matter.
Katerina Tselou is Assistant to the Artistic Director and Curatorial Advisor of documenta 14. She was co-curator and coordinator of the curatorial team for the 4th Athens Biennale in 2013, curator of visual arts at the National Theater of Greece (2009–2013), and exhibition coordinator and international relations and film distribution manager at Argos, Center for Art and Media in Brussels (2007–2008). She has organized projects as an independent curator in Greece, collaborating with institutions such as the European Film Festival and the Theater of the South. Katerina Tselou lives and works in Athens.

Arnisa Zeqo is an art historian based in Athens. In 2011 she cofounded rongwrong, a space for art and theory in Amsterdam. Recently she was curator in residence at Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, where she focused on works of art at the edge of the performative and authored the conceptual essay “Let’s Spit on Szeemann.” Zeqo is part of the team of documenta 14 in Athens as coordinator of education.