Nalan Yırtmaç

Nalan was born in 1969 in Istanbul. Lives and works in Istanbul.

Combining the daily and the colloquial with her political and social sensitivities in her artistic practice Nalan Yırtmaç addresses the evercurrent problem of Turkey, worker deaths. Sometimes equated with fate, forced upon like an inevitable, mostly reduced to mere casualties worker deaths first made headlines with the successive “work accidents” in Tuzla Dockyards in 2008. At the time Nalan Yırtmaç produced a series of stencils on the deaths in Tuzla Dockyards as well as guestarbetier in Germany.

Since 2005 the state of workers left to die without any social security after catching terminal organ failure from jean stoning workshops, workers dying in hydroelectric plant constructions, death of women workers in a locked down shuttle, death of 11 consturction workers with the fire in their tents show that we live in a country burdened with a lack of labor safety.

One of the earlier stencils from the series is exhibited in Canakkale. The spreyed cheerful workers with their dirty outfits on lyric floral wallpaper evoke the all too familiar worker image. At first the conflict of the floral background to the black siluets of the workers creates a contradicting image but once you start considering human labour is present in everything from our daily bread to the machine we do our laundry this contradiction gains new layers. Stencil method, reduces the worker’s faces to their characteristics, makes them each anonym but also typical. A nameless person from this heap reduced to statistics, casualty numbers, victims of fate can fall to a “work accident” at any minute. After appearing on the papers for a few days and following his record in the worker statistics he disappears from our life. If this continues worker deaths will increase as the number of workers.

Art sometimes undertake the responsibility to reminding, taking notes in time. Nalan Yırtmaç utilizing a volatile technique of street art and nourishing from the tensions between remembering and forgeting, leaving a mark and disappearing salutes the workers struggling on the tightrope of life and death in her work on memory and the lack of it. -Deniz Erbaş