Contemporary Art @ Boğaziçi - Interview Project, 2010

Anny Öztürk (İstanbul, 1970)

Rebecca Eltahir,


As an introduction I would like to present the process and the actual conduction of both interviews. Concerning Anny and Sibel Öztürk everything went out perfectly, the communication and their cooperativeness was more than enjoyable. At first I did a lot of internet research to get an impression about their work and their personality. The communication took place via e-mail and on Facebook. I conducted the interview in German and then translated it into English. Their work is, at least in my opinion, difficult to compare to others. This fact is also obvious when reading the interview, because their art and motivation is unique and really special and that is one of the most interesting facts about the Öztürk sisters.

Rebecca Eltahir: Mrs. Öztürk, you sometimes collaborate with your sister Sibel. Could you please describe the collaboration with a person who is actually so close to you?

Anny Öztürk: It is intimate, but sometimes difficult as well. We are so close to each other that we often think and feel in the same way, but then we have to learn that alleged thoughts still have different colors. However it is basically really nice to work with ones sister. We are able to say anything, because we know each other awfully good. Even if we lock horns form time to time, we make compromises or abandon the idea in the end, without putting our collaboration at risk.

Rebecca Eltahir: Do you prefer to work on your own or do you get more inspiration while working with another person and what makes the difference in the end?

Anny Öztürk: I personally prefer to elaborate concepts by myself; nevertheless I appreciate the inspiration and collaboration with others as a second step. Sibel however prefers to work on ideas with me at first. She is bothered by the intervention of others within this process. Sibel prefers to have the completed idea before working on it in detail with others. I totally take Sibel´s point; anyway I am still more open-minded. I treat the others as supporters of my personal ideas and like to incorporate them into my working process.

Rebecca Eltahir: Do you have a work or actual project that lies at your heart? Could you please give a description and tell us why this is the case in this example?

Anny Öztürk: I really like our light and shade projects. I am feeling really comfortable within these projects and love the simple and clear messages of these works. Light became an essential element of our work. It is part of almost all experiences concerning our childhood and youth. I love the risen objects, like the three-dimensional image of a Monstera Deliciosa in black! We have worked on them for quite a long time and they actually became strong and expressive. I am into producing something out of the simplest resources and without any help. Our plants for example are simply made of wooden slats, wire, plastic wraps and black varnish paint. But once we are principally at one with each other, like in this project, it is a complete success. In
addition, we are looking forward to the upcoming projects, where we are going to work with music, sounds and animation. It is for me personally exciting to work with Jochen Arbeit part of the Einstürzende Neubauten since I am into music and to go about something really experimental. Spontaneity and coincidence are going to play a major role, as well as light, of course.

Rebecca Eltahir: The relation between Germany and Turkey are relevant as never before, in social as well as in a cultural context. How would you rate the actual development of both art scenes? What is your opinion concerning differences and similarities?

Anny Öztürk: We are not in the position of cultural politicians but of creative artists. I would prefer to leave these topics to people who go with this job more than I actually do, my opinion would be not helpful and inappropriate. We are working in Germany, which is the centre of our life. We like to exhibit in Turkey, as well as in other European countries, and with pleasure in the rest of the world.

Rebecca Eltahir: You have spent the biggest part of your life in Germany, but you were born in Istanbul. Does this fact have influence on your art, for example concerning the art work called “Türkisch Delight” (2007)?

Anny Öztürk: My home is in more than one culture, this fact is reality for a huge amount of Europeans and by no means an exception. This fact has a big influence on my work and on the collaboration with my sister Sibel. Many of our works are based on memories. Most of them refer to shared, familiar memories. Therefore we have reference fields whose character differentiates in a cultural context, Germany and Turkey. Both are inextricably linked with each other.

Rebecca Eltahir: What is your personal opinion concerning the term “New Media Art”? If you are able to define this term how would the definition be like?

Anny Öztürk: We are not interested at all in those types of terms. Contents are important, regardless of whether it is called “New Media Art” or any kind of term. We were not really interested or inspired by those categorizations at all.

Rebecca Eltahir: Are you anyway able to describe your art in the above-mentioned context? To which genre would you assign your art to?

Anny Öztürk: We are artists that work with any kind of media. The decision for a particular medium depends on the idea and its notion of realization. The fixing on any genre would be pointless and would not underline the actual message of ourselves and our works. Let’s say it simple as it is: We are artists. And that’s not at all a little demand, but perfectly good for us.

Rebecca Eltahir: Your works are multifarious and range from drawings, objects, photographs to installations and texts, in which of these genres are you able to find the highest artistic satisfaction?

Anny Öztürk: We feel comfortable in almost every genre. And if we have the feeling to get uncomfortable with one of these we put it aside for a while. We felt uncomfortable with photography for example, that’s why we neglected this genre increasingly. We are still not worried about photography, since there are a lot of fascinating artists that apply themselves to photography with reasonable care.
We have never thought about “artistic satisfaction” concerning our work. But it sounds exciting and promising. But we will catch up on that and get in touch. Promise!

Rebecca Eltahir: Thank you very much for this interview!