In the exhibition Self-Similar: Cihan Cakmak & Moshtari Hilal basis e. V. presents photographs, drawings, video and sound works by the artists for the first time together in a show. Both artists let their own existences enter into their work by incorporating their bodies, their experiences, and their family backgrounds. In this way, they resist social norms, calling into question stereotypes of femininity and beauty, and addressing themes of power relations, inequalities, and belonging. The subjective experiences and approaches of their work also enable the examination of collective experiences or structures of society in their entirety.
The artists’ works in the exhibition can be viewed partly together and partly as independent, expansive installations. In the three mixed spaces (Rooms 1, 4, and 6), particular attention has been given to the overarching themes of the self-portrait, the relationship to other people, and the relation-ship to one’s own family. The similarities between the two artists become evident in these rooms. In spite of material differences, recurrent overlap sexist in the media utilised too. As a result, boundaries dissolve between the artworks—from the self-portraits to the video works.
Further, points of contact in the small gestures can be seen in the works of both artists. Contrasts simultaneously abound in the artworks in relation to the artistic scrutiny of social relationships, for example in the presence or absence of the figure of the mother. The question repeatedly arises whether, and, if so, to what extent, their particular examinations of the self in turn brings about an exploration of their apparently collective identities. Between these themes of subjective insights and sensations, central social contexts surface as well, which not only have a profound influence on the two artists, but on many people in the society too. The individual and personal approaches of Cihan Cakmak and Moshtari Hilal therefore offer diverse and very distinctive points of reference for the viewer.
Mariam Kamiab (curator)
All images Courtesy the artist, Foto Bernd Euring © basis e.V.