Exhibition: Video Installation "Araf"
From 11th July the Van Abbemuseum presents Araf, the 2018 film by our fellow Didem Pekün (1978, Istanbul). Presented with surround sound in a single gallery installation, the 45-minute film will be screened every hour on the hour. The Van Abbemuseum invited Pekun – whose film Of Dice and Men (2011-2016) is in the Van Abbemuseum collection - to present Araf on the occasion of the 25th commemoration of the Srebrenica genocide.
Araf - meaning purgatory or limbo in Turkish - is an essayistic road movie and diary of a ghostly character, Nayia, who travels between Srebrenica and Sarajevo to Mostar in Bosnia. She has been in exile since the war and returns for the 22nd memorial of the Srebrenica genocide. The film is guided by her diary notes of the journey which merge with the myth of Daedalus and Icarus – Icarus being the name given to the winner of a bridge diving competition in her home country. The story of Icarus and Daedalus, a myth symbolic of man’s over-ambition and inevitable failure, is weaved throughout the film as a way to think about exorcizing the vicious cycle of such events happening in the future and of a possible reconciliation. Nayia also thinks of Icarus from a different perspective, that of seeing the optimism of such a leap, his braveness of taking a leap into the unknown in times of radical instability Perhaps, Nayia infers, Icarus wanted to write a different narrative. Araf traces these paradoxes through Nayia’s displacement and her return to her home country post-war – that of a constant terror and a permanent standstill, and the friction between displacement and permanence.
11 July to 31 October 2020
Van Abbe Museum