Paradise - New Film Work By Kutlug Ataman At The Harris Art Gallery

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 28 January 2008
a montage of photos showing various people in various guises

Kutlug Ataman, Paradise. © the artist

Exhibition Preview - Paradise, a major exhibition of new work by Kutlug Ataman at The Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, until 26 April 2008.

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston is currently showing Kutlug Ataman’s new multi-channel video installation, Paradise (2007), as part of a larger presentation of recent work by the Turkish artist.

Exploring the construction of both the myth and reality of Southern California, the newly commissioned piece is at the heart of the show and combines video interviews with 24 typical and atypical residents of Southern California.

Filmed in a wide-screen format suggestive of Hollywood films, the piece includes the founder of the first drive-in church and the Philip Johnson-designed Crystal Cathedral; a retired Emmy Award-winning producer who performs tableau-vivant recreations of celebrated art works; members of the Laguna Beach Laughter Yoga Institute; and Southern California’s most famous chronicler of the apocalypse.

a film still showing two people laughing hysterically

Kutlug Ataman, Paradise. © the artist

Also participating is ‘the lingerie monk’ - founder of a non-sectarian meditation and spiritual study group and former lingerie salesman at Playmates on Hollywood Boulevard, and a numerologist who offers predictions for the future of California.

Put together, these personalities create a complex, multi-layered portrait of the region.

Installed in two concentric semi-circles of 24 monitors with a changing central figure, visitors walking into the semi-circle enter the piece to become part of the community.

It is Ataman’s intention to lead the viewer into a circle of personalities and their ideas and to provide the means to weave a unique parable about paradise in America in the 21st century.

a film still of a man wearing make up to suggest his face is drawn on

Kutlug Ataman, Paradise. © the artist

Also included in the exhibition is Stefan’s Room (2004), which is being shown for the first time in the UK. This five-screen installation centres on Stefan Naumann’s obsession with tropical moths.

With more than 30,000 tropical moths in his small Berlin apartment, Stefan’s dedication is all consuming and Ataman’s portrait of him illustrates the imprisonment of obsession.

The installation forms a dynamic structure that uses projections on multiple gossamer surfaces of the room, which works as a metaphor for the complexity of Stefan’s obsession and the transformation he himself wants to undertake.

a film still of a man and two dogs seated in the doorway of a very small caravan which is hooked up to the tow bar of a car

Kutlug Ataman, Paradise. © the artist

Ataman has also included a semi-fictitious self-portrait in the exhibition, with Turkish Delight (2006), a single-screen video work and the first performance piece featuring the artist.

Ataman, wearing a wig and costume of a belly dancer, shimmies and dances to create a tragic and comic character that references the West’s ‘gaze’ towards Turkey and our ideas about the exotic.

This is an exhibition preview - if you have been to see the show, why not let us know what you think?

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