Kutlug Ataman: Out of Istanbul, a star is born
1st Turkish artist ever nominated for the Turner Prize shows his work everywhere but his homeland
By Kaelen Wilson-Goldie
Daily Star staff
BEIRUT: Kutlug Ataman wants to be a star and he has no shame telling you so. In fact, he says that since he was a little kid, he's not only wanted to be a star, he's already been a star.
"The truth of the matter," he says on the line from Istanbul, "is that I knew I was a star even when I was five. I must be honest with you and with myself: I enjoy it very much. Young people stop me in the street and ask me to sign letters; some thank me for my work. ... These are good things. One feels useful."
Born in Istanbul and educated in Los Angeles at the University of California's action-packed film studies program, Ataman makes experimental video installations and edgy feature films. His projects have introduced a cast of characters - most of them female, all of them fabulous - so strong that Ataman is justifiably referred to as the Pedro Almodovar of the art world.
At 43, Ataman is the first Turkish artist ever invited to show in the main exhibition of the Venice Biennale, participate in Documenta, create work for the Carnegie International and have his art ensconced in New York's Museum of Modern Art. As of May, he's also the first Turkish artist ever nominated for a Turner Prize, the UK's prestigious art award given yearly to a British citizen (or subject) under the age of 50. (Ataman qualifies as a resident of London; he splits his time between there, Istanbul and Barcelona.)