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"The City and the Secret Panther Fashion"

single-channel video

87.10. – 14.11.2010

Foundation 3,14 is featuring the "grande dame" of Turkish contemporary art, Gülsün Karamustafa with her video work “The City and the Secret Panther Fashion.” It is a fictive and humorous film about women who goes to a great length to achieve a moment of personal freedom. They have created a sanctuary away from the Islamists who systematically undermines the very societies of which they are part of, with much of their savage venom seem focused on the female citizenry.
The film starts slowly, reaches a climax and slows down again just like a ritual. There is no dialog in the film and it is shot in a silent cinematic pattern, with informative written text in between. The musical composition strengthens the impact of the images. The viewer gets a glimpse inside the secretly blooming Panther fashion in Istanbul. The plot starts with the meeting of 3 women who wish to catch up with the “secret panther fashion” whose users keeps growing rapidly. They are all anxious that somebody may spy on them while they are going towards their destinations. Their wish is to reach safely to a house where they can taste the joy of wearing freely the “panther design” clothing and spend a time of their own away from scrutiny. Only those who know the secret codes can enter this house decorated elaborately in “panther fashion.” In the house waits Panterella, the fearless housekeeper and her colleague who would offer the ladies endless freedom. At the end of the day the women leave the house in secret, again with the fear of being caught and return to their colorless lives.
The connecting elements through Gülsün Karamustafa artistic production through the decades are the issue of cultural identity.

Gülsün Karamustafa, born 1946 in Ankara, graduated from the Istanbul State Fine Arts Academy. She lives and works in Istanbul. She participated in the 2nd 3rd and 4th International Istanbul Biennials (1987) (1992) (1995), the 3rd Kwangju (2000), 8th Havana, 3rd Cetinje (2003) and 1st Seville Biennial (2004). She opened solo exhibitions in Musée d'Art et Histoire Geneva, 1999, Alberto Peola Gallery Torino 2004, Galerie Immanence Paris 2005, Villa Stuck Munich, Dunkers Kulturhus Helsingborg, Prometeo Gallery Milan, in 2006 among others. Also in 2006 a retrospective with video projects (2000-2005) was held in Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel.

Articles have been published on her work in Art Forum, Frieze, Springerin, Kunstmagazin, n.paradoxa, Art in America, Arredamento Mimarl?k, and Kunstforum. She has two books published, which bring together her work from 1990 to 2000 titled Create Your Own Story with the Given Material and Trellis of my Mind. The monograph titled Gülsün Karamustafa: Güllerim Tahayyüllerim / My Roses My Reveries, published in June 2007 by Yap? Kredi Publishing was written by art historian and curator Barbara Heinrich.

Her works are included in the collections of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg and the Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven among others.

Photo I&II: Serra Gültürk. Courtesy of the artist and Rodeo


Installation view:

Mobile Stages / Salzburger Kunstverein.
Photo: Andrew Phelps. Courtesy of the artist and Rodeo.

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