A Feeling of Loss: Mutterzunge
Misal Adnan Yıldız
Autonomous Space Agency, Berlin, Germany

Chair and Event Organiser: Dr Cüneyt Çakırlar (NTU)


As part of the public programme alongside the House of Wisdom Nottingham exhibition, Berlin-based curator Misal Adnan Yıldız will present a talk at Primary based on his curatorial project Mutterzunge, exploring the politics of language through living documents of grief, trauma, war and psychology of change across different artistic perspectives. This multi venue project is composed of several stages of content development, and engages in conversations with a novella of the same name by Berlin-based author Emine Sevgi Özdamar. Presenting new productions from Mutterzunge’s Berlin programme, the talk will look at recent artworks by Şener Özmen, Mehtap Baydu, Mohammad Salemy among others, engaging with critical questions about the close connections between the global memory, transnational dynamics and how to narrate social changes within personal and social traumas. Yıldız’sresearch draws upon interviews with Özdamar and participating artists, studio visits, research and production notes, as well as everyday life anecdotes focusing on feeling of loss and biographies of transition as main multilayered motifs.

“Mutterzunge” is a term which does not literally exist in standard German, since Muttersprache means mother tongue in German, and language in Turkish. Narrated through the perspective of a young Turkish migrant woman living in Germany, Özdamar’s book investigates the politics of migration, notions of displacement and relocation:“The tongue has no bones; wherever you turn it, it turns”. Here, a clear understanding of how Homi Bhabha refers to “cultural transition through barbarism” might bring back a couple of fundamental references to Hannah Arendt and Susan Sontag: “Words will not speak and the silence freezes into the images of the apartheid.”

Yıldız’s talk will lay out a visual narration of how four stories from the book have been adapted into the methodological questions on the role of ‘the curatorial’ with the responsibilities social, political and cultural engagements.

Mutterzunge” is one of the 3 ex-aequo winning projects (along with those conceived by Michael Wang and Evelyn Simons) of Curate Award, an international competition promoted by Fondazione Prada and Qatar Museums.

This event is part of the public programme curated by Dr Cüneyt Çakırlar for the exhibition House of Wisdom Nottingham (28 September 2018 – 27 October 2018). Sponsored by Arts Council England, the exhibition is on display at NTU’s Bonington Vitrines and Atrium (School of Art and Design), Primary, Five Leaves Bookshop and Bromley House Library. House of Wisdom’s public programme is supported by the School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University. For further details on the exhibition, please click here 


Misal Adnan Yıldız is a curator, writer, and educator. Yıldız is the former director of Artspace NZ in Auckland in New Zealand (November 2014- June 2017). He previously held the position of artistic director at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in Germany (2011 – 2014). Together with Hito Steyerl and Şener Özmen, he is one of the initiators of ASA (Autonomous Space Agency); a collaborative structure inspired by the works of Takiyuddin Efendi, El Cez- eri, Fahru’l-Nisa and Şêx Evdirehmanê Axtepî among others. Yıldız also produced a significant number of solo exhibitions by Slavs and Tatars, Cevdet Erek, Annika Eriksson, Ahmet Öğüt, Marysia Lewandowska, and Hito Steyerl. He also curated A History of Inspirationas part of Nouvelle Vagues, (2013) at Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Recently, Yıldız acted the guest curator for Dialogues as part of London Art Fair 2018 presenting selected works by only women-identifying artists with a high percentage of non-European participants including indigenous practices of Maori, Kurdish, Asian, and African origins. He contributed to many publications and periodicals such as Bidoun, Paletten, Radikal, Muhtelif, and Mousse among others; and also contributed to many discussion platforms including Art Basel’s Conversations, March Meetings in Sharjah, and ICI NYC’s curatorial seminar.

Image credit: BILLY APPLE Basic Needs, 2014 Commissioned by Misal Adnan Yıldız. Courtesy of the artist and Starkwhite
Photo credit: Adrian Knuppertz Apartment project installation ”SEEING AND HEARING” as part of Mutterzunge Berlin


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