EventsTopography of Memory

Selim Birsel: Step by Step

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Step by step is dedicated to Cyprus, an island in the Eastern Meditarranean, that is devided sinse 1974. The Turkish army occupied the North after more then ten years of clashes between Greek and Turkish Cypriots in 1974. Both sides were heavily influenced by Greece and Turkey. Until today the UN is stationed as Peacekeeper there.

A Beton-Food sticking in a big shoe being stuck to the ground is a metaphor for the unability to reinstall normality in this beautiful place. Normality got amputed here, when Turkish and Greek Cypriots were amputed from each other by foreign influences deviding the island. Great Britain as the old Colonialist power is still running two airbases there, the UN stucks there sinse nearly 30 years.

In 1974 Turkish Cypriots had to leave there houses in Paphos and Larnaca in the South and migrated to the North. Greek Cypriots left the North and moved to the South. Eversince, they are only visitors on each others side, stuck in political conflicts, they can’t really influence too much. The South undergoes an economical crisis deeple influenced by the one in Greece. The Turkish Northern Republic of Cyprus is totally dependened on Turkey, the only country recognizing it’s political existence. In the South the Euro is the currency, many Greek Cypriots would love to get rid off right now. In the North the Turkish Lira is used.

“UN playground” is a brillant title for this Photograpgh by Selim Birsel. A UN-Checkpoint overseeing woods and wasted land. The buffer zone shall protect both sides from each other. In fact the borders are open for Transit since 2003. Many Turkish Cypriots got Citicenships from the Republic of Cyprus to be EU citizens and to escape the stage of being blocked in an illegal country. What is the UN good for? Preserve the Peace? In fact Cyprus is considered as the Holiday ressort of War tired UN-employees in need for a rest from their missions in the batteling Near and Middle East. Not much to do, beautiful beaches and lots of luxury in this perfect place.

“1974 night” is made of the darkblue Folio being attached to the windows of the Gallery. In wartimes this Folio would be used to close windows of houses and cars to prevent light reflections. People tried to keep away their belongings from the dropping bombs at night. The darkblue is useful, beautiful and meaningful as much as this impressive exhibiton is.

Step by step, exhibition at Egeran Gallery, Karaköy-Istanbul, 07.03.-20.04.2013

Selim Birsel was born 1963 in Bruxelles as the son of a Diplomat. He travelled to many different countries as a kid and studied and lived in France for many years.

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