Frankfurter Zimmer (Re-Collection)

Re-Collection“ and „Dresdner Zimmer“

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Anny and Sibel Öztürk`s works are founded on the experience of their parents immigration to Germany in the `70s. Anny was born in Turkey, Sibel in Germany, but they were both brought up in Frankfurt. They know their own Turkish past/identity (only) from pictures, stories and some visits to Turkish relatives. In their „Frankfurter Zimmer („Re-Collection“) they reconstructed a (their) Turkish room – based on a mixture on narrative, memory and imagination. The room contains various pieces of furniture, (their) toys, old photographs and documents, and a replica of their aunts beloved divan, all in `70s style. Super-8 films of the two girls are shown on a television. A series of color drawings on the wall shows the little black haired Anny in the first year of her life:“I could already talk when I was only six month old. The thing I loved doing most was watching people and listening to them“, it says under a picture from the „Familienalbum“ series.

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The Frankfurter Zimmer is more than a reconstruction of a Turkish identity that ultimately – like the room itself – has to remain incomplete. The so called „Dresdner Zimmer“ was created as a counterpart to the Frankfurter Zimmer. The Öztürks travelled to the former GDR for the first time in the year 2000, where they found places that seemed to fit precisely with their image of East Germany. They also believed that the GDR was gray, bleak, dull, sunless ect. The Czech, Polish and generally Eastern European movies that they saw as children, like „Lucy der schrecken der Strasse“, „Die Zauberbraut“, „Das eiserne Herz“, ect, ultimately shaped their image of the GDR, which seemed to be generally much less colourful than the Federal Republik. In their „Dresdner Zimmer“ the Öztürk`s realized an image that they had had in their heads for years. They used cardboard, fabric and self-adhesive imitation woodgrain plastic veneer to built an armchair, a sofa, a table and a sideboard. Stills taken from well-known Defa movies hung on the walls of the room. The Frankfurter Zimmer and the „Dresdner Zimmer“ relate to each other and the way the rooms were constructed is made absolutely clear: the reconstructions are obviously reconstructions, the furnishings are fragmentary, just enough to show the intended function of the individual rooms.

The Öztürk`s projection of East Germany is just as much based on clichéd conceptions as the image of their own cultural identity is, the latter in turn being built on a specifically German conception of what Turkish culture is. Cultural identity appears in the work of Anny and Sibel Öztürk`s as a construct.“

Barbara Steiner

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