"You Want Kilims, But I Do Films".
Mirkan Deniz – Wir waren nur Gastgeberin


On Pariser Platz in the Berlin Art Week, Mirkan Deniz will publicly display her work Masa – a replica of the table on which  the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in 1923 – together with her video installations Barikat and verbunden.

Masa (2015-16)
In 2008 Turkey received a gift from Switzerland. Pascal Couchepin, the former president of the Swiss Federal Council, conveyed the table on which the Treaty of Lausanne was signed in 1923, presenting it to his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül. The Treaty of Lausanne negotiated the reorganisation of the Near East following the First World War. Talk of an independent state had been promised to the Kurds, but these hopes were dashed in Lausanne: The peace treaty signed there stipulated a division of Kurdistan to Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Moreover, the treaty led to the same deprivation of rights for Armenians, Kurds and Georgians. The table was in the possession of the Lausanne administration until 2008 and is now on display at the Kurtulus Savası Müzesi (War of Independence Museum) in Ankara.

Deniz had an exact replica of this table produced and realised a public action in Lausanne in front of the Palais de Rumine and in front of the Swiss Parliament building in Bern. The attempt she initiated, to officially give the table to Switzerland, was turned down by both the president of the Governing Council of the Canton of Vaud as well as by federal councillor Didier Burkhalter, the department head of the Swiss FDFA (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs). The Governing Council of the Canton of Vaud stated that this was a matter that concerns all of Switzerland. In contrast, Didier Burkhalter wrote:

“As is well known, the peace Treaty of Lausanne was entered into between Turkey and other states that had been involved in the First World War. Switzerland was involved neither in this World War nor in the negotiations, and (…) served merely as the host of the peace talks. Against this background – that high importance is attached to the peace Treaty of Lausanne in Turkey – the president of the Swiss Confederation gave the original table to the president of the Republic of Turkey as a sign of friendship in 2008. There have been no new subsequent developments that might warrant Switzerland’s interest in a replica. Therefore we graciously decline your generous offer.”


verbunden, Mirkan Deniz, short film, 13 min, 2015
The short film verbunden recalls the memories of a Kurdish woman from Turkey, who was arrested and tortured as a twelve-year-old, together with her brothers and sisters, after the military putsch in 1980. The film does not portray an individual fate: The protagonist represents an entire generation, which has grown up in a strongly politicised environment, and has experienced first-hand the violent coercive measures of the state. To emphasize this aspect, Mirkan Deniz has chosen a perspective in which the protagonist turns her back to the viewer, her hands clasped behind her back, in a pose reminiscent of the Palestinian figure Handala. The character of the well-known cartoonist Nadschi Salim al-Ali, which first appeared in 1969, shows a refugee, who will not show his face as long as his people cannot live freely. Minors are imprisoned in Turkey to this day. Due to the curfews and roadblocks, Kurdish civilians have been increasingly injured and killed within recent months. verbunden tells their story, without visualising and reproducing the violence.

Barikat, Mirkan Deniz, HD. 13 min, 2017
The Film Barikat (en. Barricade) shows a performance inspired by the daily life of Kurds who have been living under curfews for more than a year in several regions of Turkey. Many people were deliberately murdered, especially women and children, so they started to build barricades to protect themselves. Streets were blocked, und when the people went outside the door, they were killed. But many of those wo stayed at home died as well, because the houses were bombed, so people tried to hide in bunkers. There are many stories about these experiences – the film recalls one of them. In Cizre, 60 injured were locked in in a bunker. When a young woman started to help them, her mother got afraid that the military might catch her. If this had been the case, they might have killed her and left her lying naked in the street. In such cases, families can’t even get back the corpses, because it is forbidden. The mother didn’t want to experience such a thing and said: "My daughter, I hope you won’t come out of this bunker alive."


Held as part of the

14 — 24 Sep 2017

Daily, 10 am – 8 pm

In German

Free admission