Orienting Around

04 Dec 2021 - 06 Mar 2022

’Orienting Around’ brings together the work of Yeşim Akdeniz and Marwan Bassiouni. Both artists have their roots in Islamic and Arab cultures; Akdeniz was born in Turkey and Bassiouni’s father had the Egyptian nationality. Both countries belong to the so called “Orient,” a designation for countries in the near and far east about which Europeans have long held very stereotypical ideas. Even though Akdeniz and Bassiouni have a contrasting focus in their practice and their work has different visual manifestations, the works in this exhibition nevertheless intersect in various surprising ways.

Yeşim Akdeniz‘ work is concerned with Orientalism, gender and queer studies as well as cultural appropriation. Her work is infused with symbolic narratives that can be read as signs of cultural production, negotiation and appropriation. While she was primarily focused on painting, her most recent work consists of textile assemblages titled ‘selfportrait as an orientalist carpet’. These works combine autobiographical elements with (art)-historical narratives that position questions on identity formation along with ascriptions and self-attributions of objects as representations of political structures.

Yeşim Akdeniz (Turkey, 1978) studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1998-2002) and at de Ateliers in Amsterdam (2002-2004). In 2005 she won the Peter Mertes Stipendium of the Bonner Kunstverein. Her work has been exhibited in institutions such as Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Kunstverein Frankfurt, MAK Museum Vienna and Sammlung Philara in Düsseldorf. Her work is held in private and public collections, including Deutsche Bank Collection, Sammlung Philara, Nederlandsche Bank Collection, Fries Museum and Achmea Collection. In 2017 Yeşim Akdeniz was appointed as professor at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She lives and works in Brussels and Düsseldorf.

Marwan Bassiouni’s detailed photographs question how Islam is represented in the West, and show a society in which several cultures exist alongside and with each other. For his series ‘New Dutch Views’ he travelled through polders, along industrial estates, to villages, inner cities and suburbs to photograph the Dutch landscape from the windows of mosques. In the photos we see interiors, combined with the actual view that can be seen from the mosque. The works show the diversity of Islam in apparent contrast to the equally diverse and at the same time unmistakably Dutch landscape.

Marwan Bassiouni (Switzerland, 1985) holds a BA in photography from The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and a photographer CFC from the Photography School of Vevey (CEPV). In 2019 he had a solo exhibition at The Hague Museum of Photography and published the book ‘New Dutch Views’. His work has been exhibited at Bienne Festival of Photography (CH), Photobastei /VFG prize, Zürich (CH), Sharjah Art Foundation (UAE), Circulation(s), Paris (FR), Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH), Aperture (USA), Paris Photo (FR), Athens Photo Festival (GR). A work from his ‘New Dutch Views’ series is currently  included in the ‘Gallery of Honour of Dutch Photography’ at the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam.

Work by Bassiouni is held in private and public collections, including the International Centre for Photography in New York, Kunstmuseum Bern, Nederlands Fotomuseum Rotterdam, Kunstmuseum Den Haag, Fenix Museum of Migration, Rotterdam, AEGON Art Collection, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Amsterdam UMC. Bassiouni is the recipient of amongst others the W. Eugene Smith Student Grant, the Harry Pennings Prize, and the Prix Circulation(s)-Fujifilm. Bassiouni lives and works in Amsterdam.



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