Fikret Atay

Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen

When I first saw Fikret Atay’s work almost two years ago at Büro-Friedrich in Berlin, I was immediately impressed. His videos struck me as at once strange and familiar. When I saw them again recently at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, the contrast between familiarity and strangeness was even more pronounced, and I realized that it is precisely this feeling of contradiction that makes these videos—by a Kurdish artist from Turkey—so fascinating and attractive.

In the video Fast and Best, 2002, teenagers perform Kurdish folk dances. The video shows only their legs clad in jeans and sneakers or boots, moving to the rhythm. Boys’ and girls’ legs indistinguishable, they step back and forth to the rhythms of traditional Kurdish songs that everyone knows in the city of Batman, in southern Anatolia, where Atay lived until recently. Like his other videos, Fast and Best was recorded with a simple handheld

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