’Orienting Around’ brings together the work of Yeşim Akdeniz and Marwan Bassiouni. Both artists have their roots in Islamic and Arab cultures; Akdeniz was born in Turkey and Bassiouni’s father had the Egyptian nationality. Both countries belong to the so-called “Orient,” a designation for countries in the near and far east about which Europeans have long held very stereotypical ideas. Even though Akdeniz and Bassiouni have a contrasting focus in their practice and their work has different visual manifestations, the works in this exhibition nevertheless intersect in various surprising ways.
Yeşim Akdeniz‘ work is concerned with Orientalism, gender and queer studies as well as cultural appropriation. Her work is infused with symbolic narratives that can be read as signs of cultural production, negotiation and appropriation. While she was primarily focused on painting, her most recent work consists of textile assemblages titled ‘self portrait as an orientalist carpet’. These works combine autobiographical elements with (art)-historical narratives that position questions on identity formation along with ascriptions and self-attributions of objects as representations of political structures.
Marwan Bassiouni’s detailed photographs question how Islam is represented in the West, and show a society in which several cultures exist alongside and with each other. For his series ‘New Dutch Views’ he travelled through polders, along industrial estates, to villages, inner cities and suburbs to photograph the Dutch landscape from the windows of mosques. In the photos we see interiors, combined with the actual view that can be seen from the mosque. The works show the diversity of Islam in apparent contrast to the equally diverse and at the same time unmistakably Dutch landscape.
OPEN FOR VISITS BY APPOINTMENT.