Nilbar Güreş is the recipient of the fifth edition of the BC21 Art Award, a €20,000-worth prize presented biannually by the Boston Consulting Group and the Belvedere in Vienna. The Jury stated: „Notable for its idiosyncratic approach to a variety of media, Nilbar Güreş’ work distinguishes itself for its engagement with both the humor and politics of identity, sex, and gender. The artist’s collages, photographs, drawings, and objects reveal a playful intelligence with which she confronts normative conventions and stereotypical representations to great effect.”
Güreş was nominated for the BC21 Art Award 2015 by Sophie Goltz (Stadtkuratorin Hamburg). This year’s selection jury comprised Vasif Kortun (Director SALT, Istanbul), João Ribas (curator, Serralves Museum, Porto), Polly Staple (Director Chisenhale Gallery, London), and Agnes Husslein-Arco (Director of the Belvedere and 21er Haus).
Nilbar Güreş received her BA in Fine Arts from Marmara University and went on to get her MA from the Department of Painting and Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 2002. Exploring gender roles and cultural identities through collage, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and performance, the artist tries to identify moments of clarity amongst absurd elements of quotidian life. In Güreş’s collages – which combine drawing, embroidery, appliqué and painting – motifs and symbols from the oriental pictorial tradition are crossed with modern poses and (homo-)erotic scenes to form socio- political narratives. Challenging clichés of women’s social visibility and traditional roles, the artist creates provocative counter-images that address Western fears of Islamic symbols. The artist lives and works in Vienna and Istanbul.
Güreş had artist residencies in Malmö, Auckland, São Paulo and New York, and was awarded the Msgr. Otto Mauer-Award (2014), and the Professor-Hilde-Goldschmidt-Award (2013).
Her work was on show at the 21er Haus in Vienna, alongside works by the other three nominees, Andreas Duscha, Sarah Pichlkostner and Hannes Zebedin in November 2015.