Pınar Öğrenci
Frac Bretagne, Rennes


Pınar Öğrenci

Aşît (The Avalanche)

Aşît, meaning avalanche and disaster in Kurdish, refers both to the threat of avalanche that disconnects Müküs from the rest of the world and to “Meds Yeghern” (The Big Disaster) in 1915, when 1.5 million Armenians were deported, killed, or forced to leave Anatolia.

For Aşît (2022), her film produced for Documenta fifteen, Öğrenci returns to her father’s hometown, Müküs, within the mountainous region in southern Van. On Turkey’s border with Iran, this former capital of the Urartian civilization, and the Armenian Vaspuragan dynasty, today has a dense urban population of mainly Kurdish speaking communities. The town enjoyed a multilingual education and heritage in Armenian, Kurdish, Farsi, and Arabic until 1915. Aşît is inspired by Stefan Zweig’s final novella The Royal Game (Schachnovelle, 1941)—a psychological thriller in which chess becomes a survival mechanism in the face of fascism.


Artist and filmmaker Pınar Öğrenci (1973, Van, Turkey) lives and works in Berlin.

Displacement, migration, survival, and resistance are cornerstones of Pınar Öğrenci’s films and installations. Driving her works are difficult, everyday struggles: the stories she hears, observes, experiences, collects, and documents from different geographies. In earlier works, Öğrenci followed the rarely-spoken stories of migrating communities around the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and in Berlin. Her works are decolonial and feminist readings from the intersections of social, political and anthropological research, everyday practices, and human stories that follow agents of forced migration.

Image : Pınar Öğrenci, Aşit (The Avalanche), 2022 (détail/capture), collection Frac Bretagne
© Pınar Öğrenci – Courtesy of the artist