Ismail Necmi

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Ismail Necmi – 'Self-Portrait'

Ismail Necmi is a Turkish independent filmmaker, photographer and visual artist.

Career[edit]

Based in Istanbul and Berlin, Ismail Necmi works as an independent filmmaker, photographer and visual artist. After graduating in Law from Istanbul University, he collaborated on a number of movies, shorts and documentaries. As an independent photographer, his most notable projects have been; “Stills From Unmade Films | Thessaloniki”, a Solo Black & White Photography Exhibition in Macedonian Museum Of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki and "Stills From Unmade Films | Berlin" in Berlin Art Projects in Berlin. His début real-life feature film, “Should I Really Do It?”, which he produced, wrote, directed, shot and edited, has been shown at the 34th Toronto International Film Festival 2009 as an official selection in the Discovery programme, and in many other international film festivals including Montreal, Reykjavik, São Paulo, Haifa, Rome, Hamburg, Bangkok, Cairo, Costa Rica, Göteborg, Mumbai and Thessaloniki. The movie was awarded 'Daniel Langlois Innovation Award' at the International Competition of the 38th Montreal International Festival du Nouveau Cinéma 2009; both 'Most Promising New Director Award' and 'Most Promising New Screenwriter Award' at the 20th Ankara International Film Festival 2009; and ‘Audience Choice Award’ at the International Competition of the inaugural Rome Gender DocuFilm Festival 2010. The movie was also shown at Istanbul MODERN, Istanbul's Museum of Modern Art, as the opening movie of an interdisciplinary conference on fetishism. In addition to his creative work, Necmi has also taught at a number of universities, including the departments of Visual Communication Design and Photography at Istanbul Bilgi University and the Department of Radio,Television and Cinema at Istanbul's Kadir Has University.

Style[edit]

Although perhaps better known internationally as a filmmaker, Ismail Necmi has been one of the most influential and distinctive forces in underground Turkish photography since the 1990s. In a national tradition long dominated by photojournalistic realism, his edgy and often surreal work takes the most colloquial forms of still images and explores the layers of dream, fantasy and artifice that are really at play in the everyday in contemporary Turkey. Necmi has worked over prolonged periods of time with real individuals in Istanbul, offering people from diverse walks of life an aesthetic space in which they can visually express the aspirations and desires that animate their lives but which they can’t easily articulate in words – whether to transform into the person they want to be, or to show inner-selves they normally hide from everyone, or to live out their ultimate sexual fantasy. Moreover, given Necmi’s distinctive obsession with the blurred margins between life, art and fantasy, this exhibition enables viewers to explore the deep continuities between the critically acclaimed photojournalism of post-WWII Turkey and the resistant underground photography that has developed in its wake, as it struggles to capture more complex dimensions of ‘the real’ in Turkey, drawing on the visual traditions both of Europe and the Middle East.

Samuel Williams

Articles[edit]

  • Stills From Unmade Films | A Black & White Photo Exhibition by Ismail Necmi | Macedonia Museum Of Contemporary Art | Thessaloniki

The images of Ismail Necmi weave, through a game of transformation, desire and fantasy, a unique photographic tapestry, somewhare between sensation and hallucination. With obvious references to silent cinema and the evocative landscape photography of Ansel Adams, the oeuvre of this accomplished Turkish artist puts forth extreme and often surrealist aspects of certain subjects, capturing the truth of the heroes and eliciting their secrets. In his black and white frames lurk the colors of intensity, sensuality, and eccentricity. His landscapes are breathtaking. His nudes awaken our instincts. The expressions on people’s faces tell stories which were never captured on celluloid, yet that is precisely what they imply. The artist’s duality, as a photographer and filmmaker, defines his work. He pays attention to detail, he explores the borders between the real and the imaginary, he directs with a single click – the moment the shutter closes – what existed before and what will come after.

Dimitri Eipides

  • Should I Really Do It? | A Film by Ismail Necmi

Truth might well be stranger than fiction, but who would have thought it could be so hallucinogenic? The film follows the surreal story of Petra (Petra Woschniak), a mesmerizing figure who scours the streets of Istanbul. We are introduced to her twilight universe via daily sessions with her very unusual therapist Herold (Herold). This masked conversationalist is a wine-sipping, coke-sniffing man of unspecified sexual orientation who tries to break down Petra's defences while maintaining his own. Hidden behind a leather S&M mask and topped off with a variety of flamboyant wigs, he talks her through her deepest fears, though his intentions are unclear. They talk about her life, which initially comes off as a never-ending party. Sporting an intimidating shaved head, Petra is involved with fashion and other artistic endeavours, and has actually made a name for herself as a hairdresser. Residing in Istanbul as an illegal immigrant, the thirty-eight-year-old German enjoys wide recognition in local alternative circles. She spends her time experiencing life and consuming large quantities of drugs, until the day comes when she has to pay her dues. Petra lost her father, her mother and one of her own kidneys to cancer, and now it seems her twin sister is about to become a casualty of the disease as well. Swiftly leaving Istanbul to care for her sibling in Germany, Petra finds her life suddenly transformed into a series of quiet, homey afternoons in the countryside with her sister's dogs. It seems she has decided to take a break from her exorbitant lifestyle and befriend the boring neighbours. But will she be able to suppress her Istanbul personality forever? And what is the big secret behind her self-inflicted isolation? Luring us in with a promise of a rational explanation, Ismail Necmi introduces us to a shadowy world of serpentine women and fetishistic males. Moving between fantasy and reality, you soon discover the best place is in between, a nifty little spot where you can be anyone you want to be, no explanations, no holds barred. Necmi, a renowned photographer, moves easily between these realms with fascinating confidence. The result is an intelligent, original and strikingly attractive film.

Dimitri Eipides

Exhibitions | Performances | Workshops[edit]

  • Performance: The Interface and Adapter Problematic | A Discussion Performance Set-Up by the Mobile Academy Berlin/Hannah Hurtzig | Petra Gehring, Karin Harrasser, Wladimir Velminski, Susanne Sachsse, Philipp Hochleichter und Ismail Necmi | Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau | Dessau-Roßlau | December 2013
  • Doppelgänger / Should I Really Do It? | Duo Exhibition by Yasam Sasmazer & Ismail Necmi | Gallery Weekend 2013 | Berlin Art Projects | Berlin | April 2013
  • My Twin Brother/Sister | A Workshop by Ismail Necmi & Verdy Leung | The Chinese University of Hong Kong | Departments of Cultural & Religious Studies/MA in Visual Culture Studies | Hong Kong | November 2012
  • Performance: MEAT/ING | A Performance by Ismail Necmi, Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Ariel Efraim Ashbel and Jürgen Brüning | Israel Film Festival | Berlin | October 2012
  • Art Format Berlin | The International Art Show During The Art Forum Berlin | Group Exhibition | UF6 Projects Gallery | Berlin | October 2011
  • Stills From Unmade Films - Berlin | Solo Exhibition | Berlin Art Projects | Berlin | February–March 2011
  • Bad Crowd | Group Exhibition | Michael Cacoyannis Foundation | Athens | February 2011
  • Stills From Unmade Films - Thessaloniki | Solo Exhibition | Macedonia Museum Of Contemporary Art | Thessaloniki | December 2010
  • Transformation | Solo Exhibition | Dulcinea Contemporary Art Gallery | Istanbul | October–November 2001

Art Fairs[edit]

  • CONTEMPORARY ISTANBUL’14 (9th Edition) | Ismail Necmi | Berlin Art Projects | Istanbul | 2014
  • CONTEMPORARY ISTANBUL’10 (5th Edition) | Ismail Necmi | Berlin Art Projects | Istanbul | 2010

Publications[edit]

Press[edit]

International Representation[edit]

BERLIN ART PROJECTS | Mehringdamm 33│D-10961 Berlin | www.berlinartprojects.de

Filmography[edit]

Collaborations[edit]

  • Die Figurine | A Film by Hannah Hurtzig & Ismail Necmi | HD | Color | 7 minutes | Germany | 2014 | The Human-Space-Machine Exhibition | Bauhaus Museum | Dessau-Roßlau
  • Pierre Lunaire | A Movie by Bruce LaBruce | Director of Photography by Ismail Necmi | Avant-Garde Opera Film | DCP | Black and White | 51 minutes | Germany | 2014 | 64th Berlinale - Berlin International Film Festival - Forum Expanded
  • Adieu Istanbul | A Film by Dieter Sauter | Produced and Production Designed by Ismail Necmi | Documentary | DCP, HDCAM | Color | 90 minutes | English & Turkish with English Subtitles | Turkey & Germany | 2013 | 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2013 - Official Selection - Recordings Of Memory | 32nd Istanbul Film Festival 2103 - Official Selection - Turkish Cinema 2012 - 2013

Awards[edit]

  • Daniel Langlois Innovation Award | 38th Montreal International Festival du Nouveau Cinéma 2009 | International Competition
  • Most Promising New Director Award | 20th Ankara International Film Festival 2009 | National Competition
  • Most Promising New Screenwriter Award | 20th Ankara International Film Festival 2009 | National Competition
  • Audience Choice Award | 1st Rome Gender DocuFilm Festival 2010 | International Competition

Special Screenings[edit]

  • Conference Opening Film | An Interdisciplinary Conference on Fetishism “Substitute Lack!/Accept No Substitutes!” | Istanbul MODERN - Museum of Modern Art
  • Conference Opening Film | New Directions in Turkish Film Studies Conference IX "Cinema and Reality" | Istanbul Kadir Has University
  • Special Presentation "Women in a Midlife Crisis" | Neues Kino Basel | Switzerland
  • Special Screening "Exile Screenings" | Exile/Athens | Greece
  • Special Screening "My Twin Brother/Sister - A Workshop by Verdy Leung & Ismail Necmi" | The Chinese University of Hong Kong - Departments of Cultural & Religious Studies - MA in Visual Culture Studies | Hong Kong

Festivals[edit]

  • 34th Toronto International Film Festival 2009 | Official Selection | Discovery
  • 38th Montreal International Festival du Nouveau Cinéma 2009 | International Competition | Louve d’Or | Daniel Langlois Innovation Award
  • 6th Reykjavik International Film Festival 2009 | International Competition | New Visions
  • 33rd São Paulo International Film Festival 2009 | International Competition | New Directors
  • 25th Haifa International Film Festival 2009 | International Fipresci Competition | New Directors / New Horizons
  • 1st Rome Gender DocuFilm Festival 2010 | International Competition | Visions Around The Body | Audience Choice Award
  • 7th If Istanbul International Independent Film Festival 2008 | International Competition | Discovery
  • 17th Hamburg International Film Festival 2009 | Official Selection | Agenda 09
  • 33rd Cairo International Film Festival 2009 | Official Selection | Festival of Festivals
  • 7th World Film Festival of Bangkok 2009 | Official Selection | World Cinema: Cinema Beat
  • 11th Mumbai Film Festival 2009 | Official Selection | Above the Cut
  • 11th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 2009 | Official Selection | Portraits: Human Journeys
  • 3rd Costa Rica International Film Festival 2009 | Official Selection | Montezuma
  • 20th Ankara International Film Festival 2009 | National Competition | Most Promising New Director Award | Most Promising New Screenwriter Award
  • 33rd Göteborg International Film Festival 2010 | Official Selection | New Visions
  • 10th Wroclaw Era New Horizons International Film Festival 2010 | Official Selection | New Cinema of Turkey
  • 2nd Amsterdam Turkish Film Festival 2011 | Avantgart Ala Turca Selection
  • 3rd Fetisch Film Festival Kiel 2010 | Official Selection
  • 16th Adana Golden Boll Film Festival 2009 | Turkish Cinema: Special Selection
  • 7th Berlin Turkish Film Week 2009 | Official Selection
  • 45th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival 2008 | National Competition

Contact[edit]

ISMAIL NECMI | www.ismailnecmi.com

References[edit]

External links[edit]