Born in 1977 in Eastern Turkey, Güler Ates has been living and working in London for the past 16 years. She graduated in 2008 from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Printmaking. That same year, her work was featured in the New Contemporaries show. Currently, she is Digital Print Tutor at the Royal Academy Schools. Her work can be found in the print collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Art as well as the MAR. Recently, her work was shown in the 2014 Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy as well as solo exhibitions in Amsterdam (September 2014) and Rio de Janeiro (April 2014). In addition to the 2014 residency in Rio de Janeiro, Ates has completed other residencies in India (December 2012) and Turkey (Art Suites International Workshops – September 2014) and will undertake another residency in January 2015 at Eton College in the UK. In 2015, Ates will have two solo exhibitions in London with Art First and Marcelle Joseph Projects at House of St Barnabas.
Dwelling: Rio de Janeiro
Dwelling: Rio de Janeiro is the new body of work created by London-based Turkish artist Güler Ates during her month-long residency with Instituto Inclusartiz, in Rio de Janeiro. The new work consists of two videos, film stills, photographs, a sculptural work and a recreation of a performance that premiered at the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR) in Rio de Janeiro in March 2014.
In line with Güler’s prior time-based practice, her new work explores nuances of identity politics as seen through the lens of the artist’s own experiences of cross-cultural displacement as a woman born in Eastern Turkey but raised in a shantytown in Istanbul. This personal experience inspired her new performative work entitled Dwelling where a 21st century woman fully covered in swathes of silk reminiscent of a “veil” with all its contemporary Western readings walks down the streets of Rio, alongside local residents, with dozens of miniature hand-painted and individually lit favelas attached to the train of her costume. Ates explains, “I wanted to move a shantytown from Istanbul to different locations in Rio de Janeiro so people can see it in a different perspective and relate to their own experiences in their own country or debate about the global housing issue.” This juxtaposition of Middle Eastern exoticism and vernacular architecture are common themes in Güler’s practice.
In another performance entitled Home, that was filmed using super8 film and represented in this exhibition as a series of film stills, the veiled model strains as she walks across the pavement in Lapa, a neighbourhood in Rio famous for its architectural monuments and bohemian culture, pulling a small house behind her, evoking the expression “home is where you are”, regardless of nation, ethnicity, gender or religion. According to the artist, her aim was to “explore the mental home that we carry wherever we go and how that is already embedded in our mind.”
Other new work in a series entitled Object incorporates local everyday artefacts such as kitchen utensils found in every lower class home in Brazil. Cognizant that certain objects can become imbued with a sense of nostalgia or feelings of belonging, the artist appears to have discovered her own cerebral home in the fascinating culture of Brazil.
Text written by Marcelle Joseph