Nora Turato
Nora Turato, ri-mEm-buhr THuh mUHn-ee, installation view Secession 2021, photo: Oliver Ottenschläger

Nora Turato

ri-mEm-buhr THuh mUHn-ee

November 20, 2021 – February 20, 2022

Nora Turato is known for her ability to syphon the textual idiosyncrasies of the internet and new media into her work. She pours language appropriated from books, advertising, social media, and everyday exchanges into sonorous performance scripts and visual works that range from wall murals and videos to artist books and posters.

The impression that she recites these texts with casual ease, effortlessly varying her style of performance, belies the labor-intensive process of research, reading, writing, and extensive rehearsals that go into each piece. Turato currently produces two performances of twenty minutes each per year. This pace lets her stay up to date on the rapidly changing linguistic conventions on today’s globalized social media and take on issues of the day. Studying her lines, testing vocal pitches and intonations, trying out different levels of intensity and emotionality, she effectively adopts theatrical techniques. So far, she has performed in the spaces of art—galleries, institutions, fairs—typically surrounded by her own exhibitions of installations, pictures, sculptures, all of which grapple with language and writing in one way or another.

Turato’s work also reflects her staunch feminist convictions: by being loud, yelling, hogging the limelight of public attention, she champions the idea that strong women can raise their voices in society and refuse to be overlooked. Gender equality remains elusive even in the allegedly progressive Western cultures, as phenomena such as the #metoo movement have recently made only too clear. Yet Turato gestures toward another important concern as well: the freedom of speech, and especially of women’s speech, is far from assured.

For her exhibition at the Secession, Turato has produced a new sound installation which grew from her research into the politics of accents and Western media. The piece marks a new direction for the artist, who draws from her own subjecthood and upbringing in the shadow of the Soviet era, where Western media was were hungrily consumed, but phonetics, nuance, and meaning were often lost in translation. In the audio piece, Turato can be heard mimicking the sounds of Western speech forms, compulsively grasping for the right tone and articulation of multitudinous accent types from the English language.

ri-mEm-buhr THuh mUHn-ee can be described as a sound study of the artist’s growing vocal arsenal. Through her ongoing relationship engagement with the spoken word, Turato has developed an internal repository of sorts – a cache of accents, dialects, and idiolects, between which she can rapidly alternate and echo in seance-like offerings.

Nora Turato was born in Zagreb in 1991 and lives and works in Amsterdam.