The personal experience is difficult to contradict
My works from the last four years all evolve around nationality and how identity is constituted. This interest comes mainly out of personal experiences, though I am of course aware of the relevance which the question has gained during the past few years of globalisation, migration and not least the growing xenophobic tendencies in larger parts of Europe. But even so, it is important for me to stress my works did not emerge from a wish to comment on the importance of nationality in modern society, but rather because I was puzzled by things on a private level and subsequently saw a possibility to express something of common relevance based on these private experiences.
I also mention this with reference to the reactions of many contemporary artists to the right-wing tendencies of European governments. I find the apparent political commitment sympathetic, but the positions from which people react tend to be very rigid. In my view this leads to a highly polarized discussion, making it the more difficult for the individual to express feelings of uncertainty or doubt when dealing with something as complex as national identity and identity in general. I myself have a hard time identifying with the positions represented in such debates, and it is partly this feeling of having the ‘wrong’ opinion and finding it difficult to say it aloud which motivated me to do many of my works. I see the subjective approach as a way of expressing ‘wrong’ feelings, since the personal experience – as opposed to the clearly articulated opinion – is difficult to contradict. It takes place regardless of what your opinions might otherwise be.
The work ”Ama insan nasil kendi olur?” presents thoughts about belonging in a community. Berlin has long been celebrated for its alternative scene and seemingly open atmosphere, by the Berliners as well as people outside of the city. And going to Istanbul to exhibit with other Berlin-based artists is for me a perfect chance to look at the idea of the ’open community’ which Berlin has come to symbolize. With this I hope to be able to say something important about the community, in Berlin as well as anywhere else, and the way the individual understands him- or herself within it.
CV - LISE HARLEV
2002 School of Art Theory, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen