Born in Istanbul, 1981
Lives and works in Istanbul and Menlo Park, California


I am an artist based between Istanbul and Menlo Park in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. I hold a BA in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence (2006) and an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths College, London (2008). Trained both as an artist and a curator with 13 years of independent curatorial career*, recently I returned to a full-time art practice in order to speak my own truth in response to some of the pressing issues of our time. I am interested in developing an aesthetic that reflects the here and now of authentic life experiences in order to speak of freedoms, agency, change and empowerment.

My past work as a curator paid particular attention to the practices of women artists from different generations exploring issues of subjectivity, performativity, materiality, process and vitality, and aimed at contextualizing their place in art history in Turkey and beyond. During my curatorial career I developed a high awareness of the political, practical, technical and social dynamics of the art world which served to solidify my belief in art making as the most direct channel of communication and connection between the individual and the community.

Recently my artworks have taken part in the 6th International Çanakkale Biennial: “Before the Past, After the Future” (2018, Çanakkale, Turkey) and the group exhibition “Floating Tactics After a Sunken Island” (2017, Daire Gallery, Istanbul). My performative art piece “ONE” was staged at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilisations (RCAC) as a parallel event to the 15th Istanbul Biennial (2017, Istanbul).

My artistic practice is largely informed by my experience of various dance and expressive arts therapies and movement techniques including The Tamalpa Life/Art Process®, Anna Halprin methods, Skinner Releasing Technique and 5Rhythms®. I took part in Codarts’ 5 days intensive introduction course to dance therapy master (2017, Rotterdam, NL), “Bring Your Imagination to Life: An Introduction to Scoring & Performance” and the workshop with Daria Halprin at Tamalpa Institute (2018, San Rafael, California).

I am also the creator and host of an ongoing series of gatherings involving storytelling and discussion based on Jungian psychoanalyst and cantadora storyteller Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ 1992 book “Women Who Run With the Wolves”.

 
* Past curatorial positions include the 4th International Mardin Biennial: “Beyond Words” (Mardin, 2018); “CANAN: Behind Mount Qaf” (Vehbi Koç Foundation’s Arter - Space for Art, Istanbul, 2017-18); curator of the collection at Borusan Contemporary (Istanbul, 2014–15); curator of programs at Maçka Sanat Galerisi (Istanbul, 2011–12) and assistant curator of the Pavilion of Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennial (2009). I have also worked as a curator-in-residence at the CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw (2013), and took part in the Independent Curators International's curatorial intensive programs 'From Official History to Underrepresented Narratives' and 'Curatorial Seminar in Istanbul'. As part of these I presented my curatorial research papers at CCA Derry-Londonderry and at SALT Galata (2013). Furthermore I have curated projects at ViennaContemporary, Loop Art Fair (Barcelona), London Art Fair and collaborated with Jameel Art Prize. I am the author of publications including “Nature is Our Body” (ArteEast Quarterly: The Global Platform for Middle East Arts, Spring 2016), “Sarkis and When Attitudes Become Form” (SALT Istanbul, 2013) and İnci Eviner monograph (Revolver, 2011). My writings appear in magazines such as Frieze, Camera Austria, Art Asia Pacific, Flash Art International, The Exhibitionist. 

 

 

 

Nazlı Gürlek