Nazlı Gürlek

My works are the performative acts of my body in various ritualistic situations. The body today is a fragmented, devalued, and oppressed one, in need of recuperation from the structures of power and domination imprisoning it. So my aim is, through the artistic gesture of healing and resistance, to support the body to put itself together to return to a reassembled, desiring body. My questions concern eco-feminism, an embodied femininity, interrelations between the self and the environment, and the shared commonalities of all forms of life. At the very core of each work is the constant seeking of a universal condition in which everything is interconnected.

My overall intention is to develop an embodied aesthetic that reflects the here and now of authentic life experiences in order to speak of freedoms, agency, resistance and empowerment. To that end, painting is both a tool and a document, scrutinizing material, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the body together with themes such as birth, death, creation, alchemy, ecology, fragility, resilience and the unconscious. I merge abstraction and figuration, as a conscious attempt at negotiating the constant dialectic and tension between womanhood as an object on the one hand, and self-expression as resistance on the other. The performance pieces, on the other hand, stem from a desire to explore such issues in ways they are experienced by other bodies, as much as from a desire for connection and reflexivity. My primary influences include mythology, archaeology, shamanic healing rituals, and indigenous cultures.


My artistic sensibility is informed by the advantage of 15 years of curatorial experience, when I had the chance to work with the most interesting feminist artists, as well as artists with particular sensibilities toward material processes of art making, at some of the most prestigious institutions such as Mardin Biennial, Arter, Borusan Contemporary in Turkey and Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle and Venice Biennial in Europe among others. Lately, I returned to a full-time art practice -my original language- in order to speak my own truth in response to some of the pressing issues of our time. I am a regular practitioner of expressive arts and dance therapy methods which all feed back into my art.