Erdem Taşdelen


The Curtain Sweeps Down

Installation with audio, two oil paintings, posters, archival inkjet prints, found objects in walnut shelf, inkjet print on synthetic adhesive paper, vinyl text on wall, take-away offset posters

The Curtain Sweeps Down explores the sociopolitical implications of the story behind Genç Kızlar, a work of literature published in Turkey in 1950. Released under the pseudonym Vincent Ewing, this Turkish-language novel was in fact written by 21-year-old Nihal Yeğinobalı, a young woman who had previously translated several books from English to Turkish but never authored one herself. After the publisher of her translations rejected her proposal to write her own novel—implying that writing is an activity better suited for men—Yeğinobalı decided to attribute her manuscript to a fictitious Anglo-American male, and claimed to have only translated it. Upon publication, this pseudotranslation aroused the interest of audiences with its erotically suggestive content, and quickly became a bestseller. It has since been reprinted numerous times, but it wasn’t until 2003 that it was finally published under Yeğinobalı’s name.

An assemblage of works in sound, photography, painting and text, The Curtain Sweeps Down offers a semi-fictionalized narrative of these events to underscore the systematic ways in which certain voices are muted while others are permitted to enter into the mainstream. The project seeks to stimulate dialogue on tactics that may result in effective resistance against censorship and discrimination, and considers self-concealment as a strategic tool to advance progressive politics in environments where open dissent may be too risky.

Please click here to read a critical essay on this project written by Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu.

The Curtain Sweeps Down was produced with support from the Canada Council for the Arts and SAHA Association. Oil paintings made by Cindy Esteves. Photograph of girls in front of Arnavutköy American College by Franc & Jean Shor (1957), used with permission from National Geographic Creative.

All installation views at VOX Centre de l'image contemporaine, Montreal, 2018. Photos by Michel Brunelle.

Excerpt from The Curtain Sweeps Down as told by Vincent Ewing, single channel audio, 16 minutes 18 seconds