Micro-Questionnaire: Semâ Bekirovic

Published June 2, 2009 by Graham

Slugs vs. three-dimensional grids! Birds vs. board rooms! Deserts vs. office buildings! The battle between the wild, untamed heart of nature and the cold, pragmatic logic of modernist design is heating up in the work of Dutch artist Semâ Bekirovic. Working in video, photography and sculpture, Bekirovic demonstrates a knack for mirthful experimentation, tackling themes of spontaneity and control, and mixing mysteries of the artificial and organic variety to create an atmosphere of carefully measured absurdity.

Semâ was kind enough to answer a few questions for our ongoing series of Where the Wild Things Are micro-questionnaires.

Is Where the Wild Things Are popular in The Netherlands? What do you remember about it from your childhood?

Where the Wild Things Are is called Max en de Maximonsters here. I remember my sister and me loving the book. We saw a childrens’ musical of it when I was six or so. I remember being quite enchanted by it. My sister and I used to stage plays with monsters in them ourselves.

I remember trying to stack three classmates on top of each other to fit in a homemade dragon costume, and how they tumbled out of it on stage. We always finished the costumes and props at the last possible moment, so there was never time for rehearsals. So our plays always ended up as text-less chaotic performances with lots of amazing props.


The contrast between nature and culture seems to be a strong theme in your work. Growing up, were you captivated by the idea of escaping your bedroom for an untamed wilderness, like Max does in the book?

Yes, but my sister and I (we were a team) would actually escape, usually. We would, for example, take our bikes and try to cycle to Belgium (which is about 300 kilometres from where we lived) and end up getting lost in some suburb of Amsterdam by the end of the day. We would ask a passerby for the way back home and by the time we got back in the middle of the night, we would find our mother in a state of near collapse. She had to call the cops quite a few times to look for us. We always thought she exaggerated.

But when I look back I guess we were quite out of control.

Astrid Lindgren or Hans Christian Andersen?


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2 comments so far

  1. [...] origin of Grant’s images: is this a piece of black tin foil, or a strip-mined mountain? Where Semâ Bekirovic underlines the contrast between human-made objects and natural ones, Grant obscures it, hinting at [...]