Fatih Aydoğdu, Thalia Hoffman, Karam Natour, Anahita Razmi

10/06 – 30/07/2022

curated by Darya Aloufy and Davood Madadpoor
as part of a collaboration with Sumac Space


Opening: Thursday, June 09, 2022, 6 pm
with an artist talk with all artists present

Venue: philomena+, Heinestraße 40, 1020 Vienna

Thalia Hoffman, Guava, 2014, video still, photography: Ran Moncas

Sixth Tone is an experiment seeking to work through dialogue and peer-to-peer exchange in the process of exhibition-making. During a series of group meetings carried out over six months, four artists and two curators assembled to question identity, belonging, and the idea of “home.”  Engaged in a collective dialogue, they explored one another’s artistic oeuvre using their societies and diverse cultural background as guides.


Reflecting this diversity, the works in Sixth Tone express “hybrid identity,” a fluidity that internalises the negotiation and processing of different cultural perspectives. This term implies that a person may feel equally belonging to more than one cultural sphere and that this multiplicity could also comprise contradictions when the cultures that form one’s identity do not coincide. The works on display convey the complexity of belonging to a place you disagree with; the desire to reconcile individuality with cultural and political norms; the relations that may form through sharing one’s knowledge and experiences. 


All artists in the project hold a hybrid identity. Some live abroad, negotiating between their country of origin and where they choose to live, while others are conflicted by the prevailing ideology in their home country, tirelessly striving to settle their sense of belonging and criticism of the regime. By coming together and beginning a dialogue, the discrepancies in the artists’ identities are rethought, as the group collectively looks for alternative strategies to be from a place and live in a place. 


The project highlights the group’s opposition to oppressive forces and top-down hierarchical structures. The process was carried out in an egalitarian manner, in which curators set aside their position as decision-makers, opting for an equal peer-to-peer exchange. As a politically-driven decision, it aims to resist the reproduction of power structures within the art world and around the Middle East, as well as any manifestation of oppressive state politics. The multiplicity and plurality expressed within such a setting transformed the group meetings into a communal exercise in intimacy and vulnerability, taking place in a safe space, devoted to debate, disagreement, and listening. 


The exhibition’s title, Sixth Tone, refers to a musical term denoting an imperfect consonance. Unlike the perfect consonances, in which two notes may be perceived as one, imperfect consonances always maintain a gap between the sounds. By choosing this name, the six group members sought to foreground the mismatches, the imperfections that are at the core of an attempt to create dialogue. It is not about trying to attain an ideal form of conversation, but creating one that also attests to the rifts, fractures and unease inherent to it. We wish to consider the imbalances that still exist between the group members; to acknowledge ‌oppressive power structures that remain prominent in our region. 


At philomena+, the group will present individual works alongside glimpses from their dialogue through responses and reflections on each other’s artistic objects.


*All practitioners participating in the exhibition condemn any sort of oppression or colonialism.


(b. 1963) lives and works in Vienna and Istanbul. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Aydoğdu is a conceptual visual artist, designer, curator, writer, and sound artist, focusing on concepts of media aesthetics, migration & identity politics, and linguistic issues. He took part in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe, Asia, and the USA.


b. 1979) lives and works in Jaffa. She is a visual artist and researcher working in film, video, performance, and public interventions in the area she lives in, east of the Mediterranean. In 2020 she graduated from ACPA with, PhDArts, with the thesis “Guava, a conceptual platform for art-actions”. The aim of the Guava Platform is to research and create possible techniques of art-actions that are part of her quest to continue to live in a conflicted landscape, as an artist. Alongside her artistic actions, Hoffman is a lecturer at the University of Haifa in the fields of video, and performance.


b. 1992) lives and works in Tel Aviv. Natour’s practice employs a variety of mediums, including video, digital drawing, and installation, although he considers video his ‘mother tongue’. Through these, Natour reflects the fragmentation of identity—its characteristics, its fluidity, and how it is constructed by culture, gender, and nationality—through the use of humor, irony, and art history. Natour has received various awards including the 2020 Wolf Foundation’s Kiefer Prize for Young Artists. In 2020 Natour was chosen for Forbes’s 30under30 list.


b. 1981) lives and works in Berlin and London. Working with installation, moving image, and performance, her practice explores the possibilities of contextual shifts - with a focus on shifts between an 'East' and a 'West'. Her works were exhibited in international institutions like Museo Jumex, Mexico City, Halle 14, Leipzig, Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art, Tehran, Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, The National Art Center, Tokyo, and Kunstmuseum Stuttgart. Among other grants and scholarships, Razmi received a Kulturakademie Tarabya Fellowship (2021), the Goethe at LUX Residency, London (2018).


is a curator and researcher. She holds a Master's Degree in History of Art from UCL, where she was the recipient of the Fer-Garb Scholarship. She is currently an Assistant Curator at TAU Gallery. Her research examines counter-narratives, equivocal identities, and under-researched histories, primarily focusing on the work of women artists in the Middle East. In 2020, she co-founded the Collective for Constant Questioning (CCQ), a platform that centers questioning as a methodology for a deconstructive agency and constituting alternatives. In 2021, she was selected to participate in the second edition of the Young Curators Academy at the Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin. Since August 2020, she has been contributing to Sumac Space.


was born and raised in Tehran, where he worked as project manager at the Tehran Art Center (Hozeh Honari). His interest in the arts led him to move to Florence, where he obtained a BFA and an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Accademia di Belle Arti.  Davood is also co-founder and curator of Sumac Space, a digital platform devoted to contemporary art practices in the Middle East through exhibitions, critical writing, and research. This aligns with his personal research interest in exploring different narrations, story-telling, and fictions that reconstruct the contemporaneous backdrop of a socio-political landscape in flux as a mixture of origin, transition, and an unknowable future.  Since 2018, he has been working as project coordinator / curatorial assistant at Villa Romana.

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