Nil Yalter. Exile Is a Hard Job
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Since the 1970s, Nil Yalter has worked as a pioneer of socially engaged and technically advanced art. She is one of the first artists in France to use the newly emerging medium of video. Yalter was born in Cairo in 1938, grew up in Istanbul, and has been living in Paris since 1965. With the artist’s first-ever survey exhibition, the Museum Ludwig is presenting the diversity of her oeuvre, ranging from previously little-known paintings from her early work and video installations from the early 1970s to multimedia installations in which she combines photography, video, drawings, and sculpture into collages. The exhibition aims to trace the path of her engaged aesthetic. For the first time, the rarely exhibited paintings from her early work will be brought together with her turn toward political topics, which is expressed in drawings and a variety of media.
Nil Yalter’s works emerge from current political situations: the sentencing to death of a Turkish activist, daily life in a women’s prison, or the living conditions of illiterate guest workers. These are all subjects that are reflected in the exhibition title Exile Is a Hard Job. Language plays an important role for Yalter, along with cultural influences from the Middle East, Turkey, and Western Europe. She sensitively integrates the voices of the people depicted in her works. Using a quasianthropological methodology, she traces the life situations of these individuals and makes marginalized groups visible.