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Probing the Circle

What constitutes « Nil’s archives » is not limited, in my view, to the archives preserved in her studio or scattered throughout her apartment. I conceive of broad, even elastic boundaries for this archive. I wish for it to be able to accommodate the widest variety of archives, always with the aim of becoming a reference tool – I hope – for future scientific, artistic or holistic research. Thus, I am open to add all documents, photographs, handwritten notes, videos, and audios that Nil and her circle may have collected over the years.

Image 1: Photograph by Ashkan Noroozkhani

My outreach initiative to her circle has been briefly outlined in the latest blogs, beginning with contacting her gallery owners in London and Istanbul. More recently, I had the opportunity to be in touch with Diana Quinby, an American art historian and artist whose contribution to this archive will, I think, be precious to us.

Image 2: Photograph by Ashkan Noroozkhani

Twenty years ago, Diana Quinby collaborated with Nil as part of her thesis entitled “The Woman/Art Collective in Paris in the 1970s: A Contribution to the Study of the Women Artist’s Movement in France.  A portion of her research is devoted to Nil’s work, representing a significant body of scholarly knowledge about Nil’s artistic endeavors that Diana generously agrees to share with us for inclusion in the archive. Additionally, she possesses handwritten notes taken during her extensive exchanges with Nil, as well as audio recordings on VHS tapes – a prospect that excites me greatly. Plans are underway to digitize these tapes, and I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to listen to them.

Image 3: Photograph by Ashkan Noroozkhani

It seems to me that delving into Nil’s circle in this way is very important. I believe that establishing such an archive, infused with a holistic approach, presents an opportunity to immerse oneself in the heart of the social and professional intricacies that shaped Nil’s journey. It is to conceive of an individual woven into a sometimes labyrinthine network of friends, artists, art historians, and writers who surround her. I believe that her relationships offer a privileged insight into the subtle interactions and influences, sometimes imperceptible, that may have left their mark on her work, if not more certainly on her journey. I also believe that external archives have the potential to reveal hidden layers of Nil’s creative process. It is, after all, a matter of shifting perspective.

Image 4: Photograph by Ashkan Noroozkhani

And then, there are all these behind-the-scenes stories, agreements made over a drink, shared laughter, perhaps even disputes. It is this human side, with its ups and downs, that gives depth to the story. This is where we find the real gems, the juicy anecdotes that shed new light on the artist’s work.

Image 5: Photograph by Ashkan Noroozkhani

All pictures are by photographer Ashkan Noroozkhani – a huge thank you.

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