The American born Istanbul based artist, teacher, art historian and art critic, Nancy Atakan, has been a resident of Istanbul and an active figure in the Istanbul arts scene since 1969. Originally a painter, in the early 1990's she switched to a multimedia approach encompassing digital printing, installation, neon, text and video.
Her practice was influenced by a group of artists gathered under the concept of 'Relational Aesthetics' by Nicolas Bourriaud from the beginning of the 2000s, and has directed this concept into production. Like the artists in this group, Atakan is also an artist who is based on an individual and closed interaction with the audience, instead of an understanding art that placed the work at the center, she approaches tightened human relations and acts as an intermediary tool for interaction.
Believing that the art arena is a place where individuals can experiment to develop alternative ways to live and interact with each other, in 2007 she co-founded a non-profit artist initiative and project space called 5533. Over the last decade, in her art practice Atakan has sustained this strong idealistic viewpoint and has focused on creating catalysts for initiating human relationships.
While each work investigates broader topics within the contexts in which people interact, she often incorporates recurring autobiographical references to Istanbul, belonging, gender, language and concepts related to femininity. By using autobiographical elements, the historical narratives and weighty issues within her work are permeated with touches of lightness as they are brought closer to the realm of the everyday.
Nancy Atakan, b. 1946, Istanbul. Major exhibitions include; Making a Shift, Nordic Art Association, Stockholm, Sweden, (2018); A Community of Lines (solo), Pi Artworks, Istanbul, Turkey (2017); Sporting Chances (solo), Pi Artworks London, UK (2016); Small Faces, large Sizes, Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey (2015); Stay With Me, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art, Bremen, Germany (2015); 40 videos from 40 years of video art in Turkey, 25th Ankara International Film Festival, Goethe Institute, Turkey (2014); Me, Myself and I: Me as a Dilemma, CerModern, Ankara, Turkey (2013) and Dream and Reality - Modern and Contemporary Women Artists from Turkey, Istanbul Modern, Turkey (2011).
Download Atakan's CV