Donja Nasseri & George Demir, Futures of past imaginations

16.10. – 8.11.2020
Opening: Friday 16 October 2020, 19:00

In the exhibition Futures of past imaginations, Donja Nasseri and George Demir present two new individual multimedia artworks focused on negotiations between identity and self-representation. The constant self-construction of identity is not only an internal struggle but continual management of impressions.

By ways of recontextualizing pop-culture references, imagery from the Age of Enlightenment, and the faith and symbols of Ancient Egypt, the artists explore exclusion and inclusion mechanisms. Hide your past, protect your future. What are the consequences of concealing one’s prior history to be accepted?

My nose is She (who presides over her lotus-leaf) Part I
Donja Nasseri, 2020, Mixed media installation with 2-channel video 5:00 min.
The artist deals with a certain figure from ancient Egyptian history, Queen Hatshepsut, who over 3500 years ago appointed herself Pharaoh. She analyzes Hatshepsut’s role as a woman during this time and her forms of expression. On the basis of figures and drawings it becomes obvious that Hatshepsut portrayed herself as a man; male clothing, glued beard and the complete reduction of female forms like shaped breasts. However, the face remains hers.

One of Them
George Demir, 2020, Mixed media installation with video 10:42 min.
The work focuses on the pop cultural representation and negotiation of the phenomenon of passing (“to pass for” or “to pass as”) in film, literature and social media platforms. The material includes videos and quotations from the American television show “Saturday Night Live”, the novel “Passing” by Nella Larsen, the film “Imitation of Life” and YouTube tutorials. These pop cultural references are contrasted with images of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and North America. The emergence of biometrics in the 18th century and the associated measurement and categorization of people paved the way to try to scientifically prove racial and colonial structures. These mechanisms reach far into our present day and still define how people are identified and classified, promoting the necessity to fit.

Iconoclasm – Iconodulism
George Demir, 2015, 3 gilded objects and vitrine
The series Iconoclasm – Iconodulism consists of gilded objects, which are coated with gold metal in the style of Buddhist and Hindu icon worship, so that the underlying object is no longer recognizable as such. While the technique of gilding to deformation creates a variation of the iconoclasm out of the worship, the objects located under the layers of gold correspond to different idols, totems and fetishes.

Scarabs do not stand as witnesses against me
Donja Nasseri, 2020, 2 photo prints 40×30 cm.

My nose is She (who presides over her lotus-leaf) Part II
Donja Nasseri, 2020, Stereo sound 3:28 min.
My hair is Nun; my face is Re; my eyes are Hathor; my ears are Wepwawet; my nose is She who presides over her lotus-leaf; my lips are Anubis; my molars are Selket; my incisors are Isis the goddess; my arms are the Ram, the Lord of Mendes; my breast is Neith, Lady of Sais; my back is Seth; my phallus is Osiris; my muscles are the Lords of Kheraha; my chest is He who is greatly majestic; my belly and my spine are Sekhmet; my buttocks are the Eye of Horus; my thighs and my calves are Nut; my feet are Ptah; my fingers are Orion; my toes are living uraei; there is no member of mine devoid of a god, and Thoth is the protection of all my flesh.


Donja Nasseri (*1990 Düsseldorf)
Since 2016 Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Class Prof. Gregor Schneider
Since 2015 Kunstakademie Münster, Class Prof. Mariana Castillo Deball
2011-2015: TU- Dortmund, BA Arts
2012–2013: Mimar Sinan Sanatlar Academy Istanbul, Photography

George Demir (*1990 Köln)
Since 2019 Universität der Künste Berlin, Art in Context (MA)
2013–2019 Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln


Curated by Agustina Andreoletti

Kulturamt der Stadt Köln
NRW Kultursekretariat
Ministerium für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen
Kunststiftung NRW

Thomas Lambertz