Batman is a town located on the border between Turkey and Iraq that has been devastated by years of political oppression and military intervention. Being of Kurdish descent, Fikret Atay’s experiences of Batman, his home town, explain much of his artistic work. Still living and working there, Atay focuses on the tensions arising from the permanent opposition between East and West, between military and civilians, and between tradition and modernity. Working in a very difficult context for artistic production, he often improvises his videos using borrowed equipment. His simple, unaffected style lends an apparently straightforward authenticity to the images, yet the meanings of the performers’ actions remain mysterious to viewers unfamiliar with the local culture. 

Atay has had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthalle, Vienna (2005), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Castilla y León (2005), Maison de l'architecture IDF, Paris (2005), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2006), Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (2008), Outlet, Istanbul (2009) and Gislaveds Konsthall, Sweden (2018), among others. His videos have been shown in film cycles at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012, 2011) and Witte de With, Rotterdam (2010), among others, and are part of collections such Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris; FRAC Île-de-France, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Istanbul Modern; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Castilla y León; and MACBA, Barcelona. 

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