Artist Nasan Tur Addresses Political Turmoil through Magic at West Den Haag
Titled “Magic,” the artist’s new exhibition includes videos that capture sleight of hand, people firing guns in slow motion, and an installation that plays with materials made for political protest. Tur considers magicians or illusionists to be present in our daily lives; for example, politicians who influence the public, earn their trust, and persuade them to take positions. In the exhibition’s title video piece, Magic (2013), a series of vignettes depict a magician’s hands as they manipulate objects in a darkened space. Some of the tricks are recognizable, but charged by the use of symbolically loaded objects: kerchiefs decorated with Palestinian and Israeli flags are made to change from one into the other; a coin magically passes through a copy of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital; and news photographs of armed conflict are made to disappear through mysterious gestures.
Other works, such as First shot (2014), In my pants (2015), and Preparation #1 (2010), also focus on gestures. First shot uses slow motion in a manner similar to video artist
Activist’s banners reappear in Demo-kits de luxe (2009), a set of protest banners presented as kits to be used at political demonstrations. Presented side by side as an installation, each kit is a different color, comprised of a spray paint can and a blank furled banner. Each is made from expensive materials such as fine hardwoods and precious metals. Presented in this way these objects are boiled down to their visual and material qualities, no longer recognizable as tools to instigate change.
In all of his works, Tur examines deeper ideas and ideologies. His cultural commentary on action, explored coolly and thoughtfully, makes for engaging contradictions and ponderous art.
“Magic by Nasan Tur” is on view at West Den Haag, Netherlands, May 9—Jun. 20, 2015.