Saydam, Elif

In their solo exhibition at Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Elif Saydam addressed the relationship between social categories and the construction of taste. With the starting point of narratives and ornaments, Saydam raised questions about the value of work, impulses of identification, and social permeability. In a profound and humorous way, they explored the connections between aesthetic and social contradictions and their cross-border potentials.

For the 2021 annual editions, Saydam designed three bumper stickers - stickers that usually adhere to the rear end of cars, where they spread nonverbal messages to others travelling on the road. These may be religious, humorous or even commercial; affiliations to sports fan clubs or simply advertizing. In the USA, they are particularly widespread in election years, communicating political values. In addition to their content, stickers also communicate information about taste and class through their design. Saydam spreads their very own ideas with this annual gift at the classic gas station price of 9,99€. The stickers BREMS DICH der Himmel kann warten and HONK IF YOU'RE LONELY 2021 make explicit reference to driving, blatant flirting and cruising. The sticker reading Rich Dad Poor Dad, on the other hand, adapts the title of Robert T. Kiyosaki's best-selling novel, a dubious guide to financial wealth. The secret, he says, is a simple trick, and that is not to work for money, but to make money work for itself.

In their expanded painting practice, Elif Saydam (lives in Berlin) addresses the relationship between social categories and the construction of taste. Saydam studied in Montréal, Canada, and Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Their works have been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2021), Tanya Leighton, Berlin (2020), Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich (2020), KunstWerke, Berlin (2018), Kunstverein Nürnberg—Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft, Nuremberg (2016), and MMK Museum for Modern Art, Frankfurt am Main (2016), among others. Saydam has also been part of various radio and performance productions and in 2018 co-wrote the novel Desecration of Descent with Vera Palme (Broken Dimanche Press).