19.08.2022 bis 02.10.2022
Eine Ausstellung von Rüzgâr Buşki
Kuratiert von Nadine Isabelle Henrich
Im Rahmen des Ausstellungsprogramms
Existing Otherwise | Anders Existieren 2021–22 in der Galerie Wedding
Künstlerische Leitung: Solvej Helweg Ovesen

The title Wayward, in its various meanings, refers to qualities that can have positive or negative connotations depending on the context: headstrong, willful, unpredictable, resistant. It is an attitude or behavior that is not expected by others and is perceived as not conforming to social codes. The striving to exist outside the normative templates in self-determination and integrity is a central theme in Rüzgâr Buşki’s practice. Wayward presents a survey of works spanning 12 years of filmmaking, LGBTQI+-activism, art-making and community work.

Maps, animal and human bodies are the starting point for revision and transformation processes that make social (community) and psychic levels (artist) tangible. Using historical printing techniques and building on an expressive as well as color-intensive vocabulary, Buşki invokes elements of German art history, such as a satirical weekly magazine “Simplicissimus” (1896 – 1944), other political satire magazines as well as resistance leaflets. The historical techniques Rüzgâr is mastering are enriched with playful, deep, layered symbols of inner psychological battles and codes of the LGBTQI+ community, thus transferring them to the present.
What would be the social reality in which trans people could exist in an experience of autonomy, tranquility and open expression without the need of a camera? For Rüzgâr the consistent urge and need of trans individuals to be the writer of their own stories is the only thing perpetual about the trans existence. Mona Rıza (2015-2022) puts the attention not on the often fetishized medical transition, feeding the Western desire for consumption of difference, but instead puts its focus on the confrontations within the family structure. Rüzgâr films their mother, Zühal, on the days before and after the surgery. Zühal, a retired art teacher and breast cancer survivor, struggles to accept the surgery but wants to be supportive at the same time as the frictions in the family increase. Rüzgâr’s aunt, the voice of normative narratives mixed with superstitions, frames transsexuality as a spell falling on them because of Zühal’s secret child.
The film camera which Rüzgâr holds takes over diverse functions: a tool to create a story beyond the most insistent opinions, a way of sharing and coping with the emotional, social and physical process, a device of autobiographical and family storytelling outside the prescriptive family album and sometimes as a shield. An absent father not fixed in memory, appears shortly recorded by the film. 7 years after the surgery, one day after the 2022 Istanbul Pride, which was banned by the state, attacked and almost 400 people arrested, which is the highest number of people arrested in a single demo in Turkey’s history, Rüzgar and Zühal watched the recordings together. What starts as a conversation about gender transforms into a poetic exchange on autonomy, boundaries, epigenetic trauma and attachment. Mona Rıza is a homage to all the wounded mothers and the transgenerational wounds we inherit.

Shapes beyond words
The strength of the works, apart from their formal aesthetic quality, lies in the opening of visual and living worlds of a trans cosmology. Genuine mythologies and figure systems unfold a condition beyond racist, patriarchal, heteronormative categories. A state of fluidity, transition and hybridity prevails with regard to body and identity. This does not mean an absence of tension, conflict, collisions, or wedging – the figures are intertwined, connected and touch each other. They express a state of tension between individual figure and collective constellation, perceived as lustful, energetic, friendly, erotic, familiar, aggressive or fearful. Above those individual relationships of the pictorial figures, the compositions exist in a meta-balance of divergent impulses and emotions.
The human scale self-portrait How I realised that the agony and the bliss both belong to the universe as I was transitioning interspecies to save myself from the misery of the humankind (2019) is a key work to access the cosmos of Rüzgârs imaginaries. Two figures, inseparably joined and wedged together in their bodies, hold their common heart: where one body ends and the other begins is unclear; the only thing that is clear is the touching, the being stuck in each other, an impossible detachment.
A double-headed and three-legged human and beast stand together; the crocodile’s scaly tail begins like a fourth leg, continues, embraces the two, and wraps around the pair like a frame. Their large red heart lies openly visible and is surrounded by a white negative space, an echo chamber, inside the body. Instead of warm blood, words emerge from the veins and arteries. It is a stream of Turkish words associated with negative or positive emotions:
»Things that make depression:…plastic in the sea, plastic in space, bodies getting in pieces, hearts getting in pieces, chemical substances, things created in earth not disappearing in earth, having no place to belong, craving for belonging, homelessness, craving for a home, marriage, child marriages, child brides, child grooms, brides and grooms, binary systems, lovers not being able to unite, not being able to unite, Sivas (a massacre in Turkey), massacre, the fact that something like massacre exists, the fact that hausfrau exists, femicides, gender, race….«
This holistic understanding of interconnectivity between the individual body and mind and the collective body, the land and the political system also informs the documentary-film #direnayol (2016), which premiered at Documenta 14. During the years of the Erdogan government, Turkey’s LGBTQI+ community has come together to resist and battle the increasing oppression, threat and mistreatment by reactionary forces because of their identity, sexual orientation and bodies. Set in Istanbul, a group of friends meet to make a film about Turkish trans and sex worker activist Şevval Kılıç, but the Gezi Park uprising changes the course of the project. During this uprising, the queer transgender bloc becomes the center of a new resistance alliance. The film documents this struggle as a hymn to political and sexual freedom. Overcoming trauma triggered by racist, sexualized, homophobic and transphobic violence is a collective effort, of resistance and connection. In Rüzgâr’s work weaknesses can become strengths, and unity is a superpower of those deemed outsiders. The relationship between the constructed center and the margins of society is challenged as they focus on the sensitivity, energy and power of the anti-heroines, exposing patriarchy, capitalism and internationalism as archaic modes.

In the series Untitled (2018) maps of six different cities located in South-East Turkey, bend, distort and contract. In a repeated scanning and printing process the series reflects the state violence in form of ethnical cleansing, forced migration, torture, curfews to Kurdish communities struggling against their defamation under the Erdogan Regime. Through an iterative process leading to increasing distortion, the works condensate the violence and repression shaping the region into dense visual forms.

The starting point of Dear State (2022) is a collection of envelopes spanning 5 years. Briefangst – the phenomenon of fear of opening letters concerning Germany’s bureaucracy is a common anxiety trigger, especially familiar to individuals with migration experience. The hundreds of envelopes archived by the artist are a reminder of the state’s presence and its binary system, gender non-conforming individuals have to confront. Very similar on the outside, the envelope’s interior is diverse. Dear State evokes the question: Are trans people the glitches disturbing the monotone flow of states’ gendered business as usual or the state is a distortion in nature’s diversity?

An intersectional perspective is a transformative cellular network in a social organism that often regresses with its patriarchal, reactionary heritage. In 2009 Cuban-American scholar and theorist José Esteban Muñoz stated that true queerness existed only in the future. In Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity he wrote, “Queerness is an ideality. In other words, we are not yet queer, but we can feel it as the warm glow of a horizon imbued with potentiality.” In Rüzgâr Buşki’s solo exhibition Wayward trans-identity and queerness manifest not as utopian vision of the future, but an unstoppable practice and storytelling that unfolds a relational aesthetic that impulses a dynamisation, interconnection and hybridisation of how we relate to the world.
Nadine Isabelle Henrich, August 2022