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Berlinische Galerie shows Pınar Öğrenci with the film “Aşît/The Avalanche” | 26.05- 31.07.2023

Editors’ Choice

At the Berlinische Galerie, Pınar Öğrenci will show the film “Aşît/The Avalanche” (2022, 60 min.), produced for documenta fifteen. The inspiration and starting point for it was Stefan Zweig’s “Chess Novella”, written in 1942 in Brazilian exile, in which the game of chess becomes a survival strategy in the face of fascism. Öğrenci has returned to her father’s hometown, Müküs (Bahçesaray in Turkish), for her work. This is in the Van region on Turkey’s border with Iran. Until 1915, the town’s education system and heritage transmission were multilingual: Armenian, Kurdish, Farsi and Arabic co-existed. Today it has a high proportion of Kurdish population. The title of the film “Aşît” is Kurdish and means “avalanche” and “catastrophe”. It refers both to the avalanche that threatens to cut Müküs off from the rest of the world and to “Meds Yeghern” (The Great Catastrophe) of 1915, the genocide of about 1.5 million Armenians during the First World War.

Fig. above: Pınar Öğrenci, Aşît, 2022, Film Still, Credits. Pınar Öğrenci

In her visually powerful work, Öğrenci shows the everyday strategies of the Kurdish population under state pressure. The film addresses the traces of the different cultures that were present in Müküs before parts of the population were murdered, expelled or forced to assimilate. A central role is played by the Armenian musician Hayrik Muradian, who had to flee the Van region in 1918, and the songs from his homeland that he collected.

DEEDS NEWS - Courtesy of Berlinische Galerie - Pınar Öğrenci, Aşît, 2022, Film Still, Pınar Öğrenci
Pınar Öğrenci, Aşît, 2022, Film Still, Credits Pınar Öğrenci

The filmmaker

Pınar Öğrenci (*1973 Van, Turkey) works with the media of film, video and installation. She deals with themes at the intersection of social, political and historical issues and adopts a decolonial and feminist perspective. One focus of her artistic practice is the examination of migration, displacement, state violence and strategies of resistance. She often works with material from archives. She detaches visual, video and audio documents from their original context and weaves them into poetic and atmospheric multi-layered narratives.

DEEDS NEWS - Courtesy of Berlinische Galerie - Pınar Öğrenci, Aşît, 2022, Film Still, Pınar Öğrenci
Pınar Öğrenci, Aşît, 2022, Film Still, Credits Pınar Öğrenci

The IBB video room

Since 2011, the IBB Video Room has presented artists who work with time-based media. The programme includes not only established names in contemporary video art, but also young positions that have rarely been shown in museums. The aim is to give them their first institutional appearance at the Berlinische Galerie.

Each screening allows for a new engagement with works that raise media-related or political and social questions. Particular attention is paid to giving marginalised perspectives space and making the effects of power structures visible.


Berlinische Galerie
Alte Jakobstraße 124–128
10969 Berlin – Kreuzberg



Thursday, 25 May 2023, 7 pm

Presentation dates: Friday, 26 May – Monday, 31 July 2023

Save the Date: Friday 07 July 2023, from 8 pm
Open Air Video Art & Artist Talk with Pınar Öğrenci and Anne Bitterwolf

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