STATION 6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

Güler Ates: Water no longer dances with light, 2019, new site-specific installation, wallpaper and photography; with a live performance during the opening ceremony. gulerates.co.uk

In the Stations of the Cross, Veronica is the woman who helps Jesus persevere. She confronts us with the classic question: In whom do we invest, convinced that the person can make a difference in this world? Who can lean on us?

Güler Ates grew up in the mystic tradition of East Turkey. She is based in London and works with video, photography, printmaking and performance. One of the core elements in her work is cultural displacement. She studies the interaction of Eastern and Western cultures. 

For this project the artist designed an installation. For months she collected the experiences and impressions of many displaced persons during their journeys. She gave them time and attention and listened to their moving accounts. The stories of ‘in-between’, written in many languages and printed in a letter type that reminds us of stories in ancient codices, form a work of art altogether. In a wavy movement they fill the canal room of the Church of Our Lady.

Amidst the poems and chronicles there are images of a veiled woman photographed in this church. The enigmatic ‘middle’ in the oeuvre of the artist appears here too, the place where East and West meet.

Location: Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady), Keizersgracht 220. This house of prayer is used by both Roman Catholic and Syriac Orthodox communities. The latter call it the Mother of God Church.

text: Anikó Ouweneel