Şirin Şimşek

Şirin Şimşek

Şirin Şimşek’s work focuses on the human subject, its social and political environment and identity, questioning which form of determinism shapes our identity?

Born 1983 in Cologne, Germany, Şirin Şimşek studied artistic Photography at the University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf, then continued with media art at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne from 2013–2017 with Phil Collins and Johannes Wohnseifer. Her works have been screened at the Julia Stoschek Collection, Kunststation St. Peter, Open Source Festival and Turkish Film Festival, among others. She had recent group and solo shows at Artothek Cologne, The Cologne Biennial, Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf, and Galerie Patrick Ebensperger, Berlin. In collaboration with Melike Kara she ran the project space Agnes Maybach in Cologne.

Şirin Şimşek is known for her documentary group of works. In an interdisciplinary approach, a series of photographs and an accompanying video are always composed. These works focus on the subject and its political and social environment. Şimşek constantly accompanies the protagonists of her works over a longer period of time, thus creating an intimacy or even providing insights into her own biography through the confrontation with their own identity.


HD Video / 12:30 min / 2017

Hüzün is a Turkish word expressing an emotion that cannot be readily captured in one word in another language. It is perhaps best described as a mixture of sadness and melancholy. The hüzün that Şimşek feels relates to distant home, that is not hers and from which she is becoming ever more detached. Motivated by the current political development in Turkey, the origin country of her parents, she made an attempt to try and reforge her links to this estranged home. 

HÜZÜN (2017) reflects the country’s current state of emergency. The abandoned hotel in an abandoned place gives the impression of being part of a ghost town. The hotel architecture contrasts sharply with the ruins. The atmosphere is one of constant threat and shows how a once blossoming tourist town almost comes to a complete standstill owing to a political development.


HD Video / 07:05 min / 2015

Tinder is a mobile dating App that enables you to swiftly contact other persons in your immediate vicinity. The user profile consists solely of photos as well as the user’s name and age.

MATCHPOINT (2015) shows the artist using the dating App. In a single tracking shot we see her clicking her way through profiles. Watching her through the eye of the camera we become voyeurs of her approach to the dating App. Through the gesture of next-clicking the interface highlights the accessible but always only superficial contacts offered. The video was shot in the Palestinian autonomous territory of Ramallah. The persons shown are, however, primarily Jewish in origin and come from near-by Jerusalem. MATCHPOINT shows the absurdity of the unlimited mobile possibilities offered while simultaneous the space in which people lead their lives is restricted by walls.