Marriage and Shams in Nataša Drakula’s Art
“A marriage of convenience is a marriage which one needs for the convenience of papers.” Anonymous
Getting married in Germany is a very elaborate affair – at least in terms of the preparation involved. Some fairly absurd steps are added to the process if one of the people getting married is a foreigner. No trace of romance. Nataša Drakula approaches the subject from an artistic point of view. In her works, she separates the individuals from the abstraction of the current integration debate.
The exhibition at the Meinblau art house is prefaced by a video of the artist’s own wedding, making it very personal. A PERFECTLY NORMAL WEDDING shows observers the protagonists and the photos of an apparently joyful and cheery wedding. But are the scenes portrayed really what they seem to be?
The multichannel installation M FOR FAKE contrasts this example with other marriages – marriages of convenience, marriages for protection, sham marriages. Nataša Drakula questions various anonymous participants about their experiences and motives, their fears and desires. Through images and audio, those concerned reveal which existential discussions they had with their partners and when decisions had to be made for the sake of papers or the government.
The viewer gets an idea of the inequality of the partners in a binational marriage. The question of residency is thus a strain on every friendship, and many relationships collapse under the pressure. Even when people marry out of love, the government often suspects them of entering into sham marriages. In reference to her most recent works, Nataša Drakula says, “With this project, I am trying to show the absurd phases of life that many people are forced through and the meaning they draw from these experiences. In so doing, I hope to contribute to a better understanding between foreigners and Germans, maybe even to loosen these classifications.”
Nataša Drakula, born in former Yugoslavia, has been living in Germany since 1991. She studied at the University of the Arts Bremen and received her Master of Arts from the Berlin University of the Arts. Nataša Drakula works as an instructor of visual communication at numerous German universities and art schools and gives lectures at symposia. The Meinblau gallery is hosting the premiere solo exhibition of the artist, who lives in Berlin and on Hvar.