Merve Ertufan

me | you


Collaborative project by Johanna Adebäck and Merve Ertufan.
By experimenting with roles and rules, the pair use 'play' as a tool for scrutiny. While an artwork may turn competitive, it's format discloses hidden structures within interpersonal relationships.


2013; performance, variable length

Answers is a performance work where Johanna Adebäck and Merve Ertufan invite participants to ask any question they please. It’s an open mic, all questions are a go. However, any question addressed to Johanna is answered by Merve; and any question addressed to Merve is answered by Johanna. Three subjects engage in a power play: the one who asks, the one asked to, and the one who answers on her behalf.



2012; two-channel video, 1 hour
Produced for ARTER with support from Vehbi Koc Foundation.

“Over the space of an hour, the dialogue of the two women passes through phases of friendly affection to aggressively heightened provocation. In this experiment both the psychological dynamics of interpersonal communication and the quality of their facial expressions and language are explored and pushed to their limits as conveyors of meaning.”
Exhibition catalogue ISKELE2, Unanswered Question, 2013

Contact the artist for full video preview access.


2011; video, 15 mins

A video from a few hours of an evening, when Johanna and Merve decide to play an alcohol shot game. As many of their personal restraints lift, certain behavioral patterns become visible.

J: “Ok, I’ve won two- twice before, and now if you want to give up, I’m the winner. Ok?”
M: “No.”
J: “Why no? You’re pulling out the liquor-”
M: “You’re never the winner.”
J: “Why am I not- never the winner?”
M: “You’re never the winner.”
J: “Because I’m meaner than you, waa- you think- you think”
J: “Merve you think you’re such a nice person and you’re the same person that- than me. But it’s just that you are whining a lot and that you are weak, Ok?”
M: “I’m going to puke-”
J: “No, you’re not going to puke.”
M: “I’m really going to puke.”
J: “You are? Do you want me to follow you to the toilet? Oh, come on honey…”
J: “Come come…”

that night

Follow John

2010; two-channel videos, 9 mins and 8 mins

Follow John is a title taken from a Swedish children's game called 'Följa John'. Johanna acts as the ‘John’ in Gothenburg, Merve acts as the ‘John’ in Istanbul. As one takes the lead in her hometown, the follower struggles to imitate and fit herself into the leader's actions. When in Rome, can we do as the Romans do?

follow john

Tug of War

2009; two-channel video, 3 mins

Physical struggle and friendly competition prevails in the video: an action results in an equal reaction.

tug of war


2009; two-channel video, 10 mins

In Repeaters, the two try to irritate one another through imitation and exaggeration of words, mimics and gestures. Johanna speaks in Swedish, Merve in Turkish. Neither understand what the other is saying; the conversation is revealed only with the addition of subtitles.