The Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig has been staging an artistic dialogue between the works of the Turkish artist Ayşe Erkmen and the Palestinian-British artist Mona Hatoum. The exhibition was the first joint project between these two internationally acclaimed female artists. The central theme of the exhibition was “displacement” – a state in which familiar things suddenly become foreign as a result of relocation, shifting or even uprooting. Both artists regard location and historic context as an integral part of their artistic reflection. In their own way, each examines issues of identity, self-determination, control, power and domination.
Whenever Erkmen begins a new piece, she studies the unique characteristic of the venue in question. She develops her installations by incorporating elements of the site’s historic, political and institutional contexts. She often applies a strategy of displacement by presenting existing artworks in a new context. In Mona Hatoum's works, questions of cultural identity, the body and gender play an important role. She often utilises techniques of displacement, e.g. by creating a sense of alienation which evokes anxiety. Seduction and sensuality can become sources of danger and result in frightening scenarios. Spaces and objects are redefined and everyday items gain an artistic significance. For the exhibition in Leipzig, Hatoum and Erkmen have developed new artistic interventions which explored the theme of displacement from uniquely different perspectives. The project also included an exhibition catalogue and educational programme which used new intercultural approaches developed in cooperation with students.
Artistic director: Frédéric Bußmann
Artists: Mona Hatoum (GB), Ayşe Erkmen (TR)