Lehmann Maupin would like to announce an exhibition of Kutlug Ataman's video Never My Soul. This is Ataman's second exhibition at Lehmann Maupin and will be our last show in SoHo before we move to Chelsea.
Kutlug Ataman was born in Istanbul, received his MFA in Film from the University of California, Los Angeles, and now lives in Barcelona. He has received numerous awards for his films, and his video work has been shown in international exhibitions such as the 1999 Venice Biennale, the 2000 Berlin Biennial, and the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennial. He recently had solo exhibitions at the BAWAG Foundation in Vienna and the Istanbul Contemporary Arts Museum and he will premiere a new work, The 4 Seasons of Veronica Read, at Documenta, which opens concurrently with this exhibition.
"Never My Soul" is a phrase taken from the cliché sentence the good-Turkish-girl character would say to her rapist in classic Turkish movies – "You can have my body but never my soul!" The film has at its center a transsexual who is pretending to be Turkan Soray, the real-life super diva of the Turkish Cinema, and her real life is similar to the melodramatic plot of a Turkan Soray movie. She was born as a boy, beaten up by her military father all throughout her childhood for exhibiting "effeminate" behavior, taken to psychiatrists at the age of thirteen to cure her sexual "deviance," then beaten up and tortured by an infamous Istanbul police chief. Now living in Lausanne, her kidneys have failed, she is on dialysis, and she has to live off of prostitution.
Never My Soul imitates both documentary and fiction, but is neither one. While in part an interview about a real life, the work is also a fictionalized version of that same life and the viewer can not always tell one from the other. The story is told in a very stark, in-your-face manner and with some of the style of a classical Turkish movie.