Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman, 2012-2014
Self-Portrait as an Ottoman Woman consists of a collection of popular postcards of women in traditional costumes and national dresses that geographically represents the whole of the post-Ottoman landscape but chronologically references various historical moments and ideological contexts. Rejecting archival classifications based on geographical and chronological taxonomies, the project is rather organised according to the position of the women in front of the static camera: the direction of their gaze, the types of shots and the particularities of posture and hand movements.
In the work, the idea of the ‘Ottoman woman’ is constructed by the ‘inappropriate’ grouping of heterogeneous material that draw from Ottoman, Orientalist and nationalist perspectives and which reference diverse ethnic and social positions. In this inappropriate grouping the women become part of a new spatial framework organised into strips of movement that echo Muybridge’s early photographic studies of motion. Although mimicking the grid-like symmetry and sequencing of the motion study, the strips are punctuated by gaps that highlight their own incompleteness and are arranged into panels were overall movement is created not by homogeneous frames but through diverse women representing different visual environments. Unlike the gendered determined function of Muybridge’s work and the ideological role of the postcards, these retrospectivemotion strips challenge the types of mobility available to women and disrupt the function of both orientalist phantasy and nationalist symbolisation. [..]
Biography: Aikaterini Gegisian (b. 1976, Thessaloniki) lives and works in London. In 2014 she completed a PhD at the University of Westminster (London) and is currently Visiting Scholar-Artist at the University of Pennsylvania (USA). Her work has been presented in solo and group shows and Biennials of contemporary art in Greece and abroad. Awards and grants: Arts & Humanities Research Council, UK; Arts Council England; Visiting Arts, UK; Picture This, UK;Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art. Lectures: 7th International Contemporary Art Symposium of Vladikafkaz; University of Oxford; University of Brighton; University College Chester; Armenian Open University; Aristotle University, Greece; Mahatma Ghandi Institute, Mauritius, among others. Works in collections: National Center of Contemporary Art (North Ossetia, Russia), State Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki), Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (Thessaloniki), private collections in Greece and abroad. The multi-faceted work of Gegisian negotiates the plasticity of the moving image, sound, photography and text, focusing on the relationship between space, memory and narrative. She is represented by Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki.