Featured Long Durational Work
Lifting a Secret (2007), Nezaket Ekici
Duration: Eight hours
Cover photograph by Luciane and Marlene Fasciati
The artist stands in a room with white walls furnished with a white sofa, a small, white table, and a metal ladder. She is wearing a baby blue dress and at her feet she has 50 liters of black coffee in a large, metal bucket. On the white table she has cans of Vaseline which she uses to paint text onto the white walls. The text is a story she tells from her womanhood. As a young woman in Turkey she had to go through the ceremony of cooking coffee for potential suitors and their families to show that she is ready for marriage. The story on the wall is a recollection of one of those ceremonies. A young man and his family come to her house and both families sit at a table observing her manners as she cooks and serves them coffee. After they’ve drank the coffee, the “chief guest” (the father of the young man) seems to find Nazaket Ekici a suitable bride, and he announces that he would like his son to marry her. The artist’s father then requests that the young man and his daughter go into a separate room to get to know each other.
This part of the ceremony takes a half of an hour before Ekici’s mother comes into the room and asks for them to return to the table. The boy is interested and would like to marry her. When the two reenter the room the chief guest asks again: "By the will of God and the blessing of the Prophet Muhammed, we ask for the hand of your daughter to give to our son." Her father says, "From my side, I sincerely am ready. But we should listen to the opinion of our daughter.” Nezaket Ekici then replies that she is not ready for marriage as she is still in school and would like to finish first. Ekici explains in the performance text that not every father considers the opinion of his daughter, and she is grateful for that. She says that the ceremony is very important and only if she’s doing well is she “considered to be a marriageable woman.” Men she says, “seem to be marriageable by nature.” After covering the walls with the text written in Vaseline, she then takes a cup and dips it into the bucket of coffee, and then by dumping it onto the walls of the space over and over again, reveals the words.