Born 1961, Istanbul, Turkey
Lives and works in Istanbul, Barcelona, and London
2004–5 Carnegie Prize Winner
Kutlug Ataman's 40-channel video installation in this gallery constructs, voice
by voice, a communal portrait of Kuba, an alternative society in an Istanbul shanty
town that exists as an island amid neighboring high-rise buildings. The residents of
Kuba range from criminals, drug addicts, and teenage delinquents to religious radicals
to the very poor. Through uninterrupted soliloquies presented on individual monitors,
Kuba's residents reveal themselves, and collectively their stories establish the unique
identity of a community where freedom and individual rights are valued over traditional
laws and established norms. There is no indication whether the stories that Kuba's
residents tell are straight autobiography or fantasy, because Ataman is interested
less in separating truth from fiction than in presenting the complex intertwining of
the two. The result is a compelling portrait of a self-constructed society composed of
individual identities yet grounded in a web of community values that embrace nearly
unlimited personal freedom and mutual tolerance.
Anton, Saul. "A Thousand Words: Kutlug Ataman Talks About 1+1=1." Artforum 41, no. 6 (February 2003): 116–17.
Honigman, Ana Finel. "Kutlug Ataman." Tema Celeste 93 (September–October 2002): 91.
Kuba. Exhibition catalogue. London: Artangel, 2004.
Kutlug Ataman: A Rose Blooms in the Garden of Sorrows. Exhibition catalogue. Vienna: BAWAG Foundation, 2002.
Smith, Roberta. "Kutlug Ataman's 'Never My Soul.'" New York Times, July 12, 2002.