Series of Works

Uzaktan Mektuplar – Letters from Abroad

Installation, video, work on paper

2014 to 2015

  • DEPO, Istanbul, 2015, exhibition view
    Uzaktan Mektuplar – Letters from Abroad (53.1), 13 June to 16 July, 2015, DEPO, Istanbul, 2015, exhibition view
Uzaktan Mektuplar – Letters from Abroad

Text: Press release about the exhibition at DEPO Istanbul, 2015

The video installation of Berlin based artist Maja Weyermann references the role Armenians played in carpet production and trade in Turkey before 1915 and interconnects this topic with the expropriation of Armenian foundations regarding immovable assets in Istanbul.
The artist confronts the expropriation of material inherited (the seized properties) and the erasure of cultural inheritance (the omitted/forgotten key role of Armenian craftsmen and carpet dealers). In this manner, it describes two aspects of the Armenian genocide in a very personal way.
During her residency in Istanbul, granted by the Berlin Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs Department and accompanied by Diyalog Derneği, the artist planned to realise a film about Anatolian carpets, referring to their meaning as a part of cultural memory.
Soon after she started her research, many contradictions and inconsistent information appeared which she could not classify until she learned about the key role of Armenian craftsmen and carpet dealers in Turkey before 1915. Weyermann continued her studies focusing on this fact and based her studies on interviews with carpet experts, dealers, restorers and on specialised literature.
Another observation Weyermann made during her residency in 2014 was the link between vacant real estate and restitution procedures in Istanbul. At that moment she came across the 2012 Declaration of the Hrant Dink Foundation. The declaration documents the confiscation of properties belonging to Armenian foundations by the Turkish state. Weyermann visited several objects in question and filmed them.
In her work, Weyermann combines real HD video footage with 3D animations. The latter are used to create an experience of space impossibly producible with video recordings such as memories and imagination. At the same time the video recordings may serve as pictures of “the real”. The audio track include narrations, sounds and music, which leads to the creation of an independent soundscape. Additionally the installation contains an interview with Armenian Halı Ustası, born in 1936.
The video installation, exclusively produced for the exhibition in DEPO Istanbul, interweaves both observations and research by the artist. It works like an experimental documentary that uses artistic means to contribute to the discussion on how to deal with the past.

The exhibition is kindly supported by The Berlin Senate Chancellery – Cultural Affairs Department.
The 2015 exhibition programme at DEPO is being realised in cooperation with Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Artworks (9) in the Series

Updated May 30, 2022