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Exhibition's view "Nil Yalter : Exile is a hard job", Galerie 1 Mira Madrid, L'atlas, Paris, 2023. 

© Rebecca Fanuele

Nil Yalter : Exile is a hard job

Nil Yalter's exhibition starts with a video that is historic but not irrelevant, The headless woman or the belly dance, and a more dated one, and brings together text-photographic compositions (and a few videos) from the 1970s and 1980s. These shed light on the conditions of immigrants from Turkey and elsewhere, as well as those of Turks exploited in their country of origin. The aim is not so much to denounce (a few descriptions and quotations from political texts and news reports do this) as to give visibility to the people we meet or just see. "Exile is a hard job" is borrowed from Nâzim Hikmet, whose verses meet the descriptive texts. 

Crossing between the experimental, feminist and political, Nil Yalter's works are striking for their accuracy and lack of formatting. This is a singularity on the part of the artist, but also a reflection of a time when this type of artistic expression found its place far behind the art market. The photos are mostly in black and white, with a few solarisation effects, and the texts are mainly written in trace letters. One account of an exile camp has a strange resonance with some of Robert Smithson's suburban wanderings. When she films a city literally cut off from the world, it is in the spirit of cinema, even avant-garde cinema, a way of responding to state television and its language through art and empathy. Patrick Javault

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