Esra Duzen (1983, Istanbul) lives and studies in Oslo, Norway. Her practice reinterprets societal norms, rituals and her Turkish heritage through modes of speculative storytelling and myth making. Working across drawing, textile sculptures, installation and performance, her current research examines social and bodily alienation through performative living sculptures, satirical characterisation and installation.
Long Live the New Flesh Interview with Esra Duzen January 2019
1.How do you explain your art to strangers?
Speculative story telling and myth making through cartoon like characters, performances and installations.
2.How does fantasy or transformation function within your work in relation to materials/the body/ identity politics?
Not really sure whether I consider my work on the identity politics but I see myself more focused on creating characters that have a mix of different experiences. Although I work with social alienation lately it does not represent certain part of the society for me. I feel that my work is more focused on taking out the anger and craziness in us and show it to the outer world through story telling. While doing this I sometimes reflect my experiences about being a woman in a Muslim society. Of course in this sense there is a relation with body and identity but my thought process is not focused around the politics of individualism.
3.What books, films, academic texts etc. have been inspiring or influential to your work?
Books: Stanislav Grof - The Cosmic Game, Jules Verne- From the Earth to the Moon, Michael Ende-Neverending Story,Ursula K. Le Guin: The Tombs of Atuan
Films: Den Brysomme Mannen, The Square, Gegen Die Wand, Eskiya
4.Who are some contemporary artists that excite you? Canan Senol, Sukran Moral, Lykourgos Porfyris, Yayoi Kusama 5.Where do you make your art? What kind of studio do you have?
I am currently a student at Oslo National Academy of Arts in Norway and use my studio there as a workspace.
6.What do you listen to when you are making?
Controversial youtube podcast videos, Cusco, 70ties psychedelic Turkish rock and various synth music from 80' ties to today.
7.What are you currently working on/obsessed with/thinking about?
I currently work and research on social alienation and will have a performance and panel talk about this work on 24th May 2019 at Oslo Katedral. Therefore this became my obsession in the last few months.
8. If you could take any form for 24 hours what would it be?
4 years old me
Image details: Esra Duzen Birth of a Snake (2018) performance documentation. Esra Duzen Meeting (2017) mural technique on wall, 80 cm x 60 cm.