Artist-in-residence at Lakeside Collection:

An interview with the current resident Jiyan Düyü.
Meet Jiyan Düyü, recipient of the Lakeside Collection Award 2022, current artist-in-residence at the Lakeside Collection compartment in Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen. Her solo exhibition 'Harvest 2023', with her new work 'Heaven Must Be Like This,' captures the world of three men.
Jiyan Düyü, artist-in-residence at Lakeside Collection.
- Can you provide a brief overview of your artistic background and motivations?

Before my time at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, my primary interests revolved around singing and acting. After completing the basic year, I decided to continue my studies in the audio-visual department.

I realised quite early on that video is the medium through which I can best express my images, ideas and visions. Unlike theatre, my objective shifted towards capturing people in their most authentic form. To portray people who can reveal their most human selves despite the camera's presence. This can create a sense of recognition in the viewer that I find profoundly beautiful
- Is there a personal narrative behind your work? How do you approach your subjects?

It all starts with a personal event or memory, along with the accompanying emotions, which I then weave into my work. I often work with the theme of family. For instance—I delve into family ties and relationships, positioning myself on the timeline of the family history I'm exploring. Each piece I create acts as a puzzle piece or fills in a blind spot from my youth. Essentially, my work is an ongoing exploration of my roots and how I navigate the events that have shaped my life and then put them into place.

My works explore themes like responsibility, loneliness, or loss. Yet, at the same time, and perhaps in contrast, I place importance on seeking lightness and frivolity. Approaching these themes intuitively leaves space for spontaneity and playfulness. While I establish the framework before shooting, the unfolding narrative within that frame remains open.
'Heaven must be like this’ by Jiyan Düyü, 26min, 2023, Installation View.
- What are the challenges in your practice?

I often let the work depend on how the process goes. The only things I know for sure are the person I'm filming, the purpose behind it, and the envisioned installation format. This unpredictability brings both excitement and a significant risk of failure, as seen in my previous works like "Birds Fly Back" and "Heaven Must Be Like This." —they perfectly embody this approach.

The subject only comes after the image is determined. For me, the essence resides entirely within the image. I use the atmosphere and feelings conveyed by the image as my starting point. What happens in front of the camera is completely spontaneous.

Just a fortnight before I began filming the three men for "Heaven Must Be Like This," I was in the dark about the topics they would discuss. Before the cameras rolled, I gave only one direction, then silently observed for two hours. Adding another layer of complexity, I couldn't understand their conversation during filming because I didn't speak their language. This linguistic barrier forced me to focus even more on their facial expressions and body language. It wasn't until after the shoot, with the help of my cousin's translation, that I fully grasped the content of their conversation.

Once all the footage was captured, the editing process began with a blank slate. I edited based on intuition, without preconceived notions of how the work would unfold across the three screens—a format decided beforehand. This method allows me to continually surprise both myself and the final outcome of the work.
Opening of 'Harvest 2023' the final exhibition of the artist-in-resident in the art space of Lakeside Collection.
- Can you share the story behind 'Heaven must be like this', which you developed during your residency? How did you select the three men?

Almost four years ago, when my mother passed away, and my father re-entered my life after seventeen years in the same week, it marked a profound shift for my sister and me. Reconnecting with our Kurdish relatives, we discovered an entirely new Cape Verdean family, thanks to my father's wife. The warmth of their embrace was overwhelming.

"Heaven Must Be Like This" began as a quest to understand where my father had been during those long years of absence. I envisioned the viewer sitting at the table with this newfound family.

About two weeks before my father's wife recruited her brother and best friends for the project, I discovered that each of the three men had endured the loss of a parent. In that instant, I realised their conversation had to revolve around this shared theme. The project evolved into contemplating both my parents and the intersection of the varied worlds I navigate. Importantly, it was crucial that the conversation resonated universally. In my view, we achieved that, filling me with pride.

- Can you elaborate on your choice to present the project as an installation rather than a film?

As I mentioned earlier, what mattered most to me was inviting people to come, sit at these three men’s table, and simply listen and observe. It brought back memories of my childhood, reminiscent of sitting on my mother's lap while she chatted with friends at a party. I sat on her lap, loosely tracking the conversation as I gradually drifted into a half-conscious state. A memory like that brings a comforting warmth.

When I start a new work, the form takes the lead, and the content naturally falls into place. My approach involves exploring how to deconstruct film in my practice. What shapes can a film take on? Where does the boundary between film and sculpture blur? It's these questions that captivate my interest.
Ali Keles, Founder and Chairman of the Lakeside Collection and Jiyan Düyü.
- The Lakeside Collection compartment at Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen is a unique place in Rotterdam. What were the most valuable experiences or insights you gained during your artist-in-residence program? Did this period foster a deeper consciousness of your work?

First and foremost, the space and the working area made a significant impact on me. It's a pleasure to work in an environment where you have a lot of room to navigate. Moreover, being in such a unique setting, surrounded by the creations of past and present great artists, is truly inspiring.

During this period, what proved immensely valuable was the opportunity to work with knowledgeable professionals. I felt genuine respect from everyone at the Depot and those involved in my installation. Recognising that receiving such an opportunity just a year after graduation is extraordinary. I am appreciative of the excellent guidance and support provided by Ali Keles. His open-minded approach this year has been commendable, and I deeply admire his passion for art and artists. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to him for the opportunity he granted me.

23 October, 2023
'Harvest 2023' exhibition with ‘Heaven must be like this’ by Jiyan Düyü
Lakeside Collection compartment in the Depot Boijmans Van Beuningen.
25 August-25 October, 2023
Tue–Sun 11.00–17.00 (public exhibition)

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