Archive of Disobedience
October 25 – November 30, 2022
Deutsche Literaturarchiv Marbach, Germany
Academy in Exile inaugurated an Artist-in-Residence Program in 2022 on the theme of Fixing What’s Broken. The four performance artworks presented here were produced prior to and during Demir’s artist residence in Berlin. Relating to the topics of archive and exile, the performance pieces mirror Demir’s own lived experience, experience that is carried within their body as a collection of stories about life and society. Demir aims to create new models of resistance in their work by drawing on transformational activist practices. In this respect, the works in Archive of Disobedience may be seen as performative acts of civil disobedience. Demir believes that performance lends new meaning to the objects that are left behind. Communication is fostered between the immaterial and the material, between the performance works and their physical remains, and audiences glean impressions from these remnants.
May 3rd – May 7th 2022
Pallas Gallery, Tartu / Estonia
The “Protection Spell” exhibition reflects sections of the lives of Ukrainian refugees. Traditional Motanka dolls at the center of the exhibition shed light to the cultural heritage of the region. According to the old talismans and spell recipes, Motankas had different purposes depending on their colours. Red, stands in the exhibition as the symbol of the ‘protection”. In this reinterpreted spelll, human sized doll stands against deliberate attacks on the cultural values of the people.
Exhibition highlights the feelings and thoughts that displaced people reveal due to the uncertainties in the face of a war. Sound portraits collected from the subjects of the war documents the destruction. Establishing a mental and archetypal, vocal and imaginary communication channel, the mutual dialogue between the works had been set…
On The Road
9 – 13 November 2021, 18:00
Magacin Cultural Centre MKM4, Belgrade
Influenced by the Beat Generation movement, queer artist and traveler Diren Demir’s exhibition “On The Road” takes its name from Jack Keruac’s book of the same name. The exhibition includes places and portraits from natural and cultural heritage sites that Diren visited between 2016 and 2020. The photographs, in which analog and experimental techniques are at the forefront, present moments from ancient Greek temples and human tribes that took refuge in nature. The exhibition also includes a series of portraits of local people Diren met on his journeys to find the legendary holy cities mentioned in ancient inscriptions. Diren, whose art production is mostly about creating routes and performance art, is constantly inspired by the state of being “on the road” in his spiritual pursuit and art practice. Diren thinks that being on the road is one of the most sincere ways to embrace the universe and he aims to reflect this in his photographs. The “On The Road” exhibition can be seen at Magacin Central Space from November 9th to November 13th.
Leftovers of a Body
28.10.2021 – 12.11.2021
Center 424, Belgrade
The “Leftovers of a Body” exhibition consists of artworks which make visible the authority that rule the body context. Through the re-coding and contrasting of the body, identity and nudity relations, Diren explores new areas of resistance that can be created by using only the mere presence of the body as a tool. In Diren’s performances, spaces are recoded as a field of struggle through the mere existence of the body, or the already existing struggle is disclosed through the body. At this point, Diren generally deals with the Middle East geography and the political conflicts that emerge from there.
When the body is positioned at the right time, in the right way and in the right place, the contrast it will create against the place and social codes is enough to make all the social / geographical / political rulerships -that are not spoken in daily life- visible. The mere existence of the concept of body turns into a strong and silent word. The recipients of these silent words, which arise from the presence of the body in Diren’s performances, are not the minds of the audience but their bodies. The field of dialogue that emerges from these encounters between bodies, which oversees the liberation of docile bodies, creates a new form of communication and solidarity in which bodily autonomy comes to the fore.
Objects and structures associated with the body are frequently encountered in Diren’s performances. All these different objects are usually in the center or at the edge of the performance; but somehow they are in a position to be associated with the body. Diren sees every object that the body touches during the performance as weapons that reproduce or complete the bodies dialogue. In the “Leftovers of a Body” exhibition, the objects that Diren relates to through the body are revived. Thus, it is announced that the “remains” of the performance gain autonomy in their existence in the way of becoming a work of art through the power and energy given to them by the body. Each of the installations acquired their own identity and soul through their association with the body. The body is not born of the soul, the soul is born of the body.
The transience of conceptual body movements based on a certain process -which we call as performance- and the permanent nature of what remains from it, contrast with each other. Although every object in the exhibition owes its autonomy to the performative impulse from which it emerged; they now declare their individuality, which rebels against them, resists and seeks other worlds. The ongoing tension between the works in the exhibition itself finds its manifestation between the physicality of the object and the spirituality of the performance.