press release

ID Troubles - US Visit examines the development of comprehensive systems of personal identification in modern neo-liberal societies and analyzes how the personal identification document has been appropriated by visual artists to start a debate on issues of personal and national identity, legitimacy vs. illegitimacy and inclusion vs. exclusion. This subject is extremely relevant in light of contemporary world affairs and the recent scandals surrounding the indefinite detention of immigrants in the United States. ID Troubles- US Visit is curated by Zoran Eriç (Serbia-Montenegro), Heike Munder (Germany-Switzerland) and Bettina Steinbruegge (Germany).

ID Troubles-US Visit is on view from May 20 to June 24, 2005. The opening reception takes place on Friday, May 20 from 6 to 9 PM at the NURTUREart Gallery and Emerging Curators’ Resource Center, located on the ground floor at 475 Keap St., in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Selected artists and the curators will be present.

Artists include Fernando Alvim (Angola-Belgium), Annelise Coste (France-Switzerland), Ghazel (Iran-France), Piero Golia (Italy), Andreas Helbling & Îeljka Maru‰iç (Switzerland-Croatia), Miodrag Krkobabiç (Serbia), Andreja Kulunãiç (Croatia), Oliver MusoviŒ (Macedonia), Tanja Ostojiç & David Rych (Serbia-Austria/Germany), Annie & Sybill Öztürk (Turkey-Germany), Erzen Shkololli (Kosovo), Samon Takahashi (Japan-France), Clay Ward (USA), Andro Wekua (Georgia-Switzerland), and Jun Yang (China-Austria).

ID Troubles- US Visit marks NURTUREart’s first exhibition curated entirely via the Internet from abroad. NURTUREart Gallery and Emerging Curators’ Resource Center is dedicated to nurturing the careers of nearly one thousand career-track emerging fine artists and curators from around the world with its ever expanding online portfolio registry at

Procedures for individual identification are linked to the emergence of modern concepts of individuality and subjectivity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Recently, interest has been piqued with the U.S. Government’s instituting mandatory electronic fingerprinting and photographing of visitors from specified countries. The use of cutting-edge technology is creating a completely new type of personal identification on a mass scale, and has spurred a swirl of international controversy.

Visual artists have not remained oblivious to these scandals. Increasingly, the ID document, be it a passport, a driver's license or equivalent, is being used as a central motif to start a debate on issues of personal and national identity or lack thereof, and all the consequences of belonging to one nation vs. being a citizen-of-the-world.

The artists in ID Troubles - US Visit grapple with issues ranging from the emancipatory to the repressive aspects of identity documentation, identity formation, and authenticity of documentation. Anny & Sibel Öztürk and Erzen Shkololli examine ID formation on the biographic prism of their own family stories. While the Öztürk team pursues the cultural and hybrid effects of migration, Shkololli scrutinizes the concepts of tradition and identity using the ideological symbols that have accompanied the various phases of his life. Miodrag Krkobabiç deals with the impossibility of pinning down a personal identity, which is always changing and relational. Clay Ward questions the forms of ascertaining identity authenticity by signing his bank checks with stitches, rather than pen.

Artists from the margins develop strategies against exclusion. Fernando Alvim claims: "We are all Post-Exotics!” thus negating the way in which the art business “exoticizes” African artists. In the video Camouflage, Jun Yang alternates between newspaper articles and the story of a person named "X" in order to speak about being legally and illegally foreign. When the French immigration authorities denied Ghazel a residence permit, she took the initiative and designed a poster with the following words: “URGENT, Woman, 33, artist of Middle Eastern origin and WP (without permit) seeks a husband, from EU, preferably France." Meanwhile, she has her papers and now offers herself as a wife. In the video Sans Papiers Tanja Ostojiç and David Rych interview asylum seekers detained in one of the major deportation jails in Germany – Koepenick. In her photographs and interventions, Annelise Coste registers the paradoxical situation of Europeans living in Switzerland without a valid residence permit. Samon Takahashi's video relives the arrest and detention of Albanian illegal immigrants before his own eyes.

Reclaiming the tools behind identity formation, Andreas Helbling and Îeljka Maru‰iç created BalkanTV, a fictitious and mobile broadcasting station. In return for a story about misunderstood identities, Oliver MusoviŒ issues fake press IDs for his artist colleagues. Andro Wekua re-writes multiple biographies using as a basis old magazines and black-and-white photographs which he combines with his drawings and texts. In the web project, Passport, Andreja Kulunãiç offers people the opportunity to choose the color, and thus the origin, of their child's passport.

ID Troubles - US Visit
A timely exhibition exploring the uses and abuses of the personal identification document

Kuratoren: Zoran Eric, Heike Munder, Bettina Steinbrügge

mit Fernando Alvim, Annelise Coste, Ghazel , Piero Golia, Zeljka Marusic & Andreas Helbing, Miodrag Krkobabic, Andreja Kuluncic, Oliver Musovik, Tanja Ostojic & David Rych, Anny & Sibel Öztürk, Erzen Shkololli, Samon Takahashi, Clay Ward, Andro Wekua, Jun Yang