Nezaket Ekici
Charleston, SC | Spring 2024

After participating in FSA’s Fall 2023 Spirituality and Art Retreat, Turkish-born Berlin-based performance artist Nezaket Ekici returned to Charleston in Spring 2024 for a six week residency with FSA. In addition to visiting houses of worship, faith congregations, and various cultural centers, Ekici offered several opportunities for the larger community of Charleston to experience performance art through workshops, public performances, and studio visits. From her interdepartmental artist talk at the College of Charleston to her performance “Feeling Stained Glass” at Grace Church Cathedral, to her “Perfosophic Duet” collaboration with Dr. Andreas Dammertz, to the premiere of her “Piece | Peace of Heaven” at FSA’s Inspired Garden Party and Open Studios, please read more about each of her engagements listed below.

About the Artist

Berlin and Istanbul-based Nezaket Ekici has presented over 300 groundbreaking performances in prestigious museums, galleries, and biennials in more than 70 countries. Ekici’s studied fine arts and performance art in Germany, earning an M.A. in Art Pedagogy and holds a Fine Arts degree and an MFA with studies in Art History and Sculpture at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University and Fine Arts Academy Munich. Through intensive and task-oriented performances, Ekici delves into the human body as a medium by exploring the deeper meaning behind philosophical and theological dictums. Blending energy and humor with moments of pain and physical endurance, she invites viewers to feel the essence of existence firsthand. For a full artist cv, please visit the artist’s page in the link below.


“Feeling Stained Glass” | Grace Church Cathedral

“Feeling Stained Glass” | Grace Church Cathedral

On Sunday, May 5th, FSA presented “Feeling Stained Glass,” an immersive performance by the Berlin, Stuttgart, and Istanbul-based artist Nezaket Ekici during her FSA residency in Charleston. Set in Grace Church Cathedral, Ekici collaborated with opera singer Hälis Rünk to bring the cathedral’s stunning stained-glass windows and intricate needlepoint kneelers to life through a meditative, site-specific performance.

Inspired by the cathedral’s spiritual ambiance and architecture, Ekici paid tribute to the sanctuary’s iconography. She reimagined its visual and aural elements in a two-dimensional floor installation, employing real objects used by the performers to animate the windows with choreographed movements and live vocals. In addition to conceptualizing the installation, Ekici designed and made the costumes for the performance. Echoing spiritual aesthetic traditions, including Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Zen Buddhism mysticism, “Feeling Stained Glass” is a contemplative convergence of visual art and music, celebrating interfaith and spiritually oriented practices.

“Piece | Peace of Heaven”  Open Studio Performance

Premiering at FSA’s Inspired Garden Party, FSA Spring 2024 Artist-in-Residence Nezaket Ekici’s live performance “Piece | Peace of Heaven” reflects on Charleston’s sacred exteriors and the relationship between religious architecture and the heavens. Inspired by the spiritual landscape of the Holy City, which includes churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, Ekici meditates on the faith practices of various religions under a shared sky – a common heaven. She inscribes religious texts on canvas in haint blue, a color with particular regional significance. Ekici incorporates the element of water to symbolize ablution—water purification and cleansing rites across spiritual traditions such as Baptism, Mikvah, and Wudu. “Piece | Peace of Heaven” imagines heaven’s proximity to earth and explores what it might mean to commune with and become one with heaven.

“Perfosophic Duet”

Nezaket Ekici and philosopher Dr. Andreas Dammertz presented their ongoing collaboration, “Perfosophic Duet,” a unique performance art and philosophy presentation, as part of FSA’s spring programming. The word “perfosophic” is a neologism coined from “performance” and “philosophy,” describing the interactive “duet” between married couple Ekici and Dammertz. Drawing upon his expertise in ancient Greek philosophy, Dammertz provides context and meaning for the spiritual intentionality behind Ekici’s roster of performance-art works using tangible linguistic imagery. With photos, videos, and audience interaction, their “Perfosophic Duet” offers greater insight into the performance world, demonstrating fundamental connections between art and philosophy, mutually resonating with spirituality and human expression. As interludes, Ekici invited the audience to participate with her by creating and repeating short actions that challenge the body’s endurance and limitations. Translating obtuse subject matters into an accessible dialogue; the couple provided a playful, humorous, and educational evening for an intimate gathering.

“Considering the Divine” | College of Charleston Artist Talk

Presenting alongside FSA Artist-in-Residence Yifat Bezalel, Nezaket Ekici gave an interdepartmental talk “Considering the Divine: Art and Spirituality in the Practices of Yifat Bezalel and Nezaket Ekici” at the College of Charleston, an insightful and thought-provoking session for students, faculty members, and the general public. Both artists discussed the essence of her artistic practice, exploring its connections with art history, spirituality, and society. Graciously hosted by The Department of Religious Studies, in conjunction with Studio Art, Art History, Jewish, and Israeli Studies at the College of Charleston.

Photography by Paul Cheney


Select Images