PUBLISHED BIMONTHLY. FREE OF CHARGE. MARCH-APRIL 2016 ISSUE: 35 YEAR: 8 IPEK DUBEN PHOTO EKİN OZBICER
CENGİZ ÇEKİL An Artist and his four decades spanning career by Merve Ünsal
POWER 100 Osman Erden’s review of Artlyst and ArtReview artist lists
İPEK DUBEN Unlimited Visits start with İpek Duben and in her studio in Asmalımescit
AHMET DOĞU İPEK Murat Alat writes forewords for unmade exhibitions
TO BREAK THE RULES, YOU MUST FIRST MASTER THEM. KURALLARI YIKMAK İÇİN, ONLARA HÜKMETMELİSİNİZ. JOUX VADİSİ YÜZYILLAR BOYUNCA ZORLU VE ACIMASIZ BİR ORTAM OLUŞTURDU VE 1875 YILINDAN BU YANA LE BRASSUS KASABASINDA AUDEMARS PIGUET’E EV SAHİPLİĞİ YAPTI. İLK SAATÇİLER BURADA DOĞANIN GÜCÜNE DUYDUKLARI HAYRANLIKLA USTALIKLARINI GELİŞTİRDİLER VE SUNDUKLARI KOMPLİKE MEKANİZMALAR İLE ONUN GİZEMİNİ ÇÖZME YOLUNDA EMİN ADIMARLA İLERLEDİLER. İŞTE BU ÖNCÜ RUH, BUGÜN HALA YÜKSEK SAATÇİLİĞİN GELENEKLERİNE SADIK, SAĞLAM ADIMLARLA İLERLEMEMİZ KONUSUNDA BİZE İLHAM KAYNAĞI OLUYOR.
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İSTANBUL BOUTIQUE EYTAM CADDESİ NO: 35/1 NİŞANTAŞI - İSTANBUL TEL. 0212 230 70 71 / APIST@TEKTAS.INFO PROUD PARTNER OF
Edito We still have words to say, roads to walk, parks to wander around, yet now humor takes over since we lost reason. Merve & Oktay
Charles Foster Kane: Youâ€™re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars *next* year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year, Iâ€™ll have to close this place in... 60 years. Movie still from Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, 1941
HERMÈS TA B I AT I
One morning, when Gregor Samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armour-like back, and if he lifted his head a little he could see his brown belly, slightly domed and divided by arches into stiff sections. The bedding was hardly able to cover it and seemed ready to slide off any moment. His many legs, pitifully thin compared with the size of the rest of him, waved about helplessly as he looked. â€Ś It was a simple matter to throw off the covers; he only had to blow himself up a little and they fell off by themselves. But it became difficult after that, especially as he was so exceptionally broad. He would have used his arms and his hands to push himself up; but instead of them he only had all those little legs continuously moving in different directions, and which he was moreover unable to control. If he wanted to bend one of them, then that was the first one that would stretch itself out; and if he finally managed to do what he wanted with that leg, all the others seemed to be set free and would move about painfully.
Franz Kafka, Metamorphosis [Die Verwandlung; 1915] Copyright (C) 2002 by David Wyllie
HERMÈS TA B I AT I
Change (verb) to become different, to exchange one thing for another thing, especially of a similar type, to make or become different, to take something you have bought back to a shop and exchange it for something else, to get off a train, bus, etc. and catch another in order to continue a journey, to get or give money in exchange for money, either because you want it in smaller units, or because you want the same value in foreign money, to put a vehicle into a different gear, usually in order to change the speed at which it is moving.
ArtUnlimited Maserati 27,7x40cm.pdf
After Cengiz Çekil Merve Ünsal
Pierre Boulez Notes on a modern musical satellite slipping away Sami Kısaoğlu
A list for everyone Osman Erden A classical Anatolian story (or not)– Arif Aşçı Saliha Yavuz
Year: 8, Issue: 35 Bimonthly, published 5 times a year. Distributed free of charge. Authors are solely responsible for the content of submitted articles. All rights reserved by Unlimited. Quotations not allowed without permission. Publisher: Galerist Sanat Galerisi A.Ş. Meşrutiyet Cad. 67/1 34420 Tepebaşı, Beyoğlu, İstanbul
Editors at Large: Merve Akar Akgün email@example.com Oktay Tutuş firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in Chief (Responsible): Merve Akar Akgün Advertising and Project Director: Hülya Kızılırmak email@example.com Photography editor: Elif Kahveci Office assistant: İdil Bayram Design: Vahit Tuna
Unlimited visits: Asmalımescit - İpek Duben’s Atelier Nazlı Pektaş A monographical interview with Soheila Sokhanvari Hande Eagle Forewords for unmade exhibitions 1: Ahmet Doğu İpek Murat Alat
Contributers: Murat Alat, Ezgi Arıduru, Müjde Bilgütay, İlker Cihan Biner, Gökcan Demirkazık, Hande Eagle, Osman Erden, Matt Hanson, Juliette Ihler, Sami Kısaoğlu, Merve Ünsal, Nazlı Pektaş, Aslı Seven, Alaz Şen, Erman Ata Uncu, Saliha Yavuz. Translation: Müjde Bilgütay, Gökcan Demirkazık, Hande Eagle, Hande Erbil, Aslı Seven, Ayşegül Üldeş, Merve Ünsal
Adress: Refik Saydam Caddesi Haliç Apt. 23/7 Şişhane Beyoğlu firstname.lastname@example.org Print: Ofset Yapımevi Şair Sokak No: 4, 34410 Kağıthane İstanbul T. (212) 243 24 91 F. (212) 295 64 55
Words Merve Ünsal
Cengiz Çekil passed away on November 10, 2015 he was a mentor and teacher to generations of artists. Çekil’s distilled, poetically minimalistic art-making spanned four decades. His concern with the mythology of the artist as a forerunner, culturally, socially, and politically, is always in the back of my mind when I talk about my work or other artists work. He has been the benchmark with which I measure my efforts was I as passionate as he was? Have I read enough? Do I know enough about the history of thought? Do I know other artists work well enough to know what I m doing differently? These are all questions I learned to ask through talking to and learning from Cengiz Hoca, as I know him.
WITH A CLEANING CLOTH, 2012-13, PHOTOGRAPH NATHALIE BARKI, COURTESY OF RAMPA ISTANBUL AND ARTIST’S INHERITORS
WITH A CLEANING CLOTH, 2012-13, PHOTOGRAPH NATHALIE BARKI, COURTESY OF RAMPA ISTANBUL AND ARTIST’S INHERITORS
the protagonist. The Vileda cleaning cloth that Çekil has glorified as the main character over and over again in this body of works is an ubiquitous staple of households everywhere. A symbol of not only cleaning, but a global standard of cleaning and efficiency, Vileda neutralizes the idiosyncrasies of different households; the old pyjama shirts or rags of towels are replaced by this bright, branded object. Çekil’s OBSESSION, PENCIL CASE, ROPE AND WOOD, 1974 / 2013 PHOTO BARİS OZCETIN, COURTESY OF RAMPA ISTANBUL AND ARTIST’S INHERITORS formation of the vagina I remember the first time I visited Çekil’s studio, from this material is subtle, suggestive. It is as if he was thanks to a generous introduction by Mehtap [Öztürk] playing with this material one day and that form just back in 2009. She had told me that he’d be excited to happened. The repetition of the form over and over meet a young artist. I couldn’t believe it would be so again, though, solidifies this fluid form that produces easy to meet him after having seen the Saat Kaç? instala tension with the inherently soft, malleable shape of lation at Kazım Taşkent Gallery, I was already in awe the material. of his sensibility about time’s passing and objects, to The relationship between the form and the functioput it crudely. What I thought would be a coffee ended nality of the material weaves the series with a constant, up being a five-hour conversation, where we talked unwavering strain. The Vileda cloths serve a purpose about our works. and are often quite disposable—a phlegmatic presenIt was during this meeting that he showed me an ce. The female form created with this material is softly orange peel. The peel reminded him of the female geshaped, embodying a reproductive and a desirable funnitals, but he wasn’t sure if this was just because he was ction together. The vagina, a symbol of fertility, “L’Oaging. He asked me if I thought this was just an old rigine du monde”, is wrapped in the daily chores of a man rambling about birth and death and sexuality. I household, often associated with women. didn’t know this was the beginnings of With a Cleaning This collapsing of the two moments of a woman’s Cloth, which would unfortunately be his last body of daily routine—the intimacy shared with their husband work to be exhibited. and house chores—serves a twofold function. The first Çekil always dealt with the ephemeral yet somehow is the nod to a continuity, a merging of the different resilient nature of human resistance through simple, parts of her day and her identity, a bringing together household materials. With a Cleaning Cloth is an expof the mundane and the glorified, perhaps aspiring to loration of the tension between the different compoundo the historically dissolved, separated, detached nents of a woman’s daily routine. identities of a woman. The second is the pointing to Çekil has made 144 works for this series. Each work the female self through the object that she is associated is subjected to the same treatment. A 81 x 60 cm canwith, critiquing by emulating the stereotypically coarvas is turned around as Çekil employs the back of the se denominations. canvas as his surface/plinth. Four hooks are placed on The physical tension produced by the pieces of the corners of the canvas: two bright yellow Vileda clestring that attach the Vileda to the corners of the cananing cloths are placed in the middle of the canvas, forvas, the tautness, give the sense of danger to the works. ming the subtle crevices of a vagina, held by the brass The crucified Vileda is better displayed for the viewers, hooks using rough piece of twine. The space between but also made uncomfortable in this particular form. the cleaning cloths and the back of the canvas produce The schematic colors of the works backgrounds a sense of a cavity, a recessed space; the cleaning clotpoint to Çekil’s self-critical use of seemingly haphahs are in the foreground the centerpiece for lack of a zard systems; the systems that Çekil implants invite better word that Çekil accentuates and exaggerates by an interrogation of his authorship in the works as an further decorating the canvas with color and pieces of artist, working with pre-determined sets of rules and lace that frame the pretend female form. There is a sysnumbers. The colors, although beautiful at first sight, tem to the different colors used on each canvas a formal are stand-ins for violence against women. This is the element that easily distinguishes between the different one element that anchors Çekil’s works in the speciworks. Çekil has created a coloring scheme using skin fic time and space, as Turkey is undergoing or rather, color, before, after, and during a bruise. The different is more visibly experiencing, an increase in domestic stages of a bruise, from the moment after impact thviolence against women. Often played down with the rough the healing to the disappearing, anchor Çekil’s shorthand, third page news, this daily reality is not works on a formal and temporal scale, providing the that different from household chores. By clashing the artist with an organizing principle that keeps constant object of cleaning with the corporeality of violence,
Çekil underscores the mundanity of this social ill. Perhaps exploitative, this gesture situates Çekil somewhere between the perpetrator and the victim. After all, he aestheticizes violence, but is this aestheticization justified by his capturing our attention? The different types of lace that Çekil uses to frame the Vileda provides another point of differentiation for these otherwise uniform characters. The lace, used in households as a decorative yet functionless object, is also charged with an erotic meaning. Used in lingerie, lace is alluring, teasing; the semi-sheer quality of lace hides and reveals at the same time. The oddity of lace to potentially adorn both couches and the female body is the perfect figurative metaphor for the contradictions and symbioses that Çekil melts down together in this body of works. Lace serves a decorative function here the lace that frames the Vileda is also what adorns the signified of the Vileda the woman. The use of the back of the canvas as a stage on which all of these different actors interact is Çekil’s nod to the art historical context on which he is producing this play. After all, the female form is a favorite of representative forms of art and his subversion of this element, through not only the use of three dimensionality, but repetition and systems of coloring as well, deviate from the historical continuum of this topic. While the three-dimensionality is not pronounced, the recesses, crevices are all there for the viewer to imagine, to fill up and to reduce; the familiarity with the materials provide the viewer with an immense memory of tactility that is more often associated with sculpture than painting. The repetition of works a 144 times is self-referential for Cengiz Çekil. Things (1998), 144 torched Coca-Cola cans that stand on metal feet, reminiscent of an army of metamorphosed creatures, is intimately related to this series through this number. While with Things, the repetition makes ominous the innocuous household objects; the new series is situated on the uneasy relationship between the beauty of the works and the subject matter. This tension was previously explored in a work from 1974, reproduced in 2013, Obsession; a black leather pencil case placed in the middle of a manmade cobweb. The teeth of the zipper are threatening, undone by the familiarity of the object. In the middle of a web, referencing the primitive nature of our desires, the pencil case is the centerpiece of not only our attention, but the artist’s ongoing obsession that made him vulnerable through the very act of making it visible for the consumption of others. The quietly pulsating violence of Çekil’s object-paintings take me to Chantal Akerman’s movie Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975). The at times excruciatingly slow descent into this woman’s daily routine is pregnant with a bestial brutality that is laced throughout her every movement, every gesture. Çekil’s repeated movements of making these works and the final works themselves are similarly charged with social and cultural undercurrents that are at once familiar and violently, vehemently twisted.
Private Banking TUrkiye'de ilk kez gerc;:eklestirilecek olan gene;: liderlik program1 Next Generation basl1yor. En degerli varl1gin1z kendi baglant1lanrn kuruyor, "varl1k yonetimi" konusunda bilgilenerek yannki sorumluluklanna bugunden haz1rlarnyor.
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Pierre Boulez Notes on a modern musical satellite slipping away PIERRE BOULEZ, PHOTO JEAN-PIERRE LELOIR
“To me, each of my compositions is like a labyrinth… and a labyrinth can go on forever” Pierre Boulez
Words Sami Kısaoğlu
To depict Boulez’s portrait as a composer or a conductor is undoubtedly beyond the limits of this article.
Wandering through memory, a labyrinth of unknowns and infinite possibilities, it is tough to figure out which incident will take you where, and whom it will confront you with. You come across unexpected people, and incidents as a result of a birth, or sometimes a death. Then -especially if you are a curious type- you lower down a rope into the depths of your mind, and you gently start rowing in a sea filled with evocations. I like to dunk my biscuit in a tea infused with Marcel Proust, and go after my memories “in search of lost time”; you shall go after your own life experience. During the first days of the New Year, the loss of Pierre Boulez, cornerstone in modern music, French composer, conductor, pianist, and writer at the age of 90, led me to revive a series of events about him in the theater of my mind. Each frame about him that became clearer in my memory enlightened other details that were molded by him during the 60’s and the 70’s. A satellite composer of modern music, Boulez was one of the iconoclast men of music of the 20th century, In addition to his musician identity; he founded centers to train new interpreters of new music, institutionalized new music at even the most conservative music centers, and succeeded to add contemporary compositions to the repertoires of historic orchestras. The artist, who held 26 Grammy awards during his long career, always remained relevant by taking the pulse of post-1960 new music aesthetically, intellectually, theoretically, and institutionally. IRCAM (Institute for Research and Coordination of Acoustic Music), the birthplace of intellectual sparkle during the last quarter of the 20th century, was just one of the projects that had his name written on. In 1970, upon invitation of the President of the Republic of France of the time, Georges Pompidou, he became the founding director of IRCAM. From 1977 when it was founded,to today, it has been the center of huge progress in the fields of electronic, electro-acoustic, and computer music; it also became the most important platform in Europe to develop new music software programs, to pursue various acoustic experiments, and to expand the concept of contemporary music. In the center that was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, and British-Italian architect Richard Rogers, avant-garde names that shaped the late 20th century concept of music such as Tristan Murail and Kaija Saariaho, composed new pieces by taking advantage of the center’s technological opportunities, organized master classes, and workshops. In the adventure of musical modernism, one of IRCAM’s greatest contributions was that it was home to the birth of a spectral music movement that was shaped by French composers Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail by means of its advanced technical infrastructure. The Ensemble InterContemporain, one of new music’s most respected ensembles that started to make music nearly at the same time IRCAM was founded, is another significant formation that can be associated with Boulez.
The orchestra that this successful yet controversial composer founded in 1976 with the support of the French Minister of Culture of the time Michel Guy and English art director Nicholas Snowman is also known to be the first contemporary music ensemble that remained. The ensemble that holds thousands of compositions from hundreds of composers from Steve Reich to Helmut Lachenmann in its repertoire, is today a progressively moving performance, training, and discovery institution on its own, with its ever growing repertoire, the presence of young composers in it, its cooperation with other art disciplines, workshops for amateur or studying musicians, tours it organizes in and out of France, and the albums it records. The composer does not limit his musical avant-garde to the establishment of a structure at the orchestral and institutional scale. He adds new bullets to his list of accomplishments by both the articles he writes or the classes he teaches, and the Luzern Festival Academy in Switzerland that he brought to life in 2003. The academy founded under the roof of the historic Luzern Festival, has the main goal of musicians specializing in new music, and getting to further be acquainted with different works via cooperation with conductors and composers. It also has a major role in the progress of new music, as it encourages young composers by commissioning them for new compositions, as well as organizing conductor and composer awards under the roof of the academy where 130 musicians are carefully selected to study amongst numerous applications made each summer from all over the world. To depict Boulez’s portrait as a composer or a conductor is undoubtedly beyond the limits of this article. Boulez was the first to successfully unite several contemporary music discoveries such as Schoenberg’s technique of twelve-tone, Stravinsky’s and his early teacher Messiaen’s rhythmic discoveries, and Webern’s order of tune. The artist always kept searching for the new, and held a significant role in the development of several movements in the history of 20th century music such as integral serialism, electronic music, and controlled chance. As the chief architect of the integral serialism technique, that was based on the serialism of not only volume of the sound, but also other elements such as rhythm, loudness, timbre, etc., he was also a significant conductor. He conducted the world premiere of his contemporaries such as Elliott Carter, and Gytörgy Ligeti; at the same time he succeeded to conduct significant composers of the first half of the 20th century such as Béla Bartók, Alban Berg, Claud Debussy, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor Stravinsky at the New York Philharmonic, Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and BBC Symphony Orchestra where he had been conducting since the 1960’s. Boulez, who conducted with bare hands, and no batons, opened a new page in the interpretations of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring; a piece he was especially fond of. If we were to remember Boulez as a composer based on one single composition, it would
undoubtedly be Le marteau sans maître (The hammer without a master) that he composed for chamber music and sound. Composed at a time (1953-54) Le Corbusier’s influence was felt in architecture, Rothko and de Kooning were shaping abstract expressionism in visual arts, and J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye made a huge success in the new continent, the composition was first thought to be consisted of six parts but then was completed to comprise nine parts in total. Setting the French surrealist poetry of René Char for contralto and six instrumentalists – namely, marimba, vibraphone, balafon, gamelan, koto, and guitar, Le Marteau sans maître strikes all attention from Japan to Africa, with the non-western instruments it comprises in its structure. In the composition that Boulez composes for Stravinsky, the sounds of Far Eastern music, especially Bali Island’s gamelan music, are presented from the objective of the artist’s unique sense of musical aesthetics. The composition, which also makes a reference to Schönberg’s Sprechstimme (speech-voice) technique in its vocal notation, calls for notice for it does not use any bass sound in any instrument, which normally stands at the foundation of Western music’s harmony. The work that opens new doors in the performance of chamber music in terms of the instrumentation, can be perceived like a summary of the serial composition techniques that the composer had been researching since the 1940’s. Fractions such as the deterioration of the relationship of western music with the tonal system (melody, rhythm, harmony ceasing to be the fundamental characteristics of contemporary music), the modification of traditional hearing and thinking manners (other aesthetic concerns surpassing idealized harmony, and beauty), and the valuation of technological advancements to serve the art of sound, happened before Boulez, during the period between the two World Wars. The academic, artistic, and intellectual contribution of Boulez on top of the aforementioned heritage during the last forty years of the past century did not only move music forward, but it also enabled the emergence of new spaces, new orchestras and new audiences. As one of the main figures in the French musical enlightenment along with his mentor Messiaen, and Debussy who lit the first sparkle of modern music, Boulez always argued that music was for music only. During his lifetime, he never perceived music to be limited to its sole composition, but always saw it as a consequence of a philosophy, and at the same time of technological opportunities. The following statement of the artist who lectured on musical language from 1976 to 1996 at the College de France is like a summary of his lifetime: “For me, curiosity is life. If you are not curious, you are in your coffin”.
PIERRE BOULEZ, ILLUSTRATION MELTEM SAHIN
sa.ne.na sculpts at Borusan Sanat Words Matt Hanson
The globular theater at Borusan Sanat is a perfect setting for the midseries presentation by sa.ne.na. As a six-piece mostly-percussion ensemble, sa.ne.na performs original, Turkish, and internationally renowned compositions. Before the Turkish premiere of Michael Gordon’s Timber for the “West Side Story” series at Borusan Sanat, sa.ne.na premiered several prominent works in Turkey by seminal percussion composers Steve Reich, John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, and others. In fact, sa.ne.na’s American-born Amy Salsgiver once performed the Irish premiere of Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” – a staple for classical percussion. Salsgiver, and fellow sa.ne.na percussionist Kerem Öktem studied at the Center for Advanced Musical Research, based within Istanbul Technical University, where Salsgiver now teaches. Michael Gordon himself spoke to the audience through a projected video, expressly wishing he could have been present for the premiere, and praised sa.ne.na.. He commented on his piece, Timber, as a sound sculpture in the spirit of architectural creativity. The piece is played with the performers standing in a circle, he said, to create a ritualistic ambiance. Light bulbs hung decorously in the spherical, two-story hall, flickering to the sound of the twelve mallets striking six wooden 2x4s. sa.ne.na themselves crafted the experimental percussion instrument assigned to Gordon’s composition, known as a “simantra” after the invention of the modernist Greek composer, Iannis Xenakis. For the next seventy minutes, Timber built metaphysical structures with a decadence to match the architectural glories of Istanbul. Entrancing syncopations beat on and off time in response to a circular logic, often leaderless as the anarchic drive to power, and as subject to revolution as the throne of the sultan. Concurring polyrhythms rose and
fell to the pulse of creation, mechanical and artistic. In the trance-like repetitions of Timber, the ritualistic conceptions of Gordon are reminiscent of Steve Reich’s subtle technique of phase shifting, as with the oceanic throbbing of Terry Riley’s In C and the harmonic revelations of Philip Glass. The idea of building as music, conceived in the art of composition, speaks to the bygone, romantic aesthetics of the Byzantine basilica and Ottoman mosque. Imagine an architectural blueprint, written in notated music, as the visionary fantasies of a mad autocrat, excavating the depths of the mineral earth to the heights of conceptual art. And then, besieged by the dank, hard stone, encumbered by the enslavements of rude toil, the vision then overwhelms the reach of the human body. In the overworked, unstable mind, the weary builder begins to hear what is not there. In the endless tapping, thudding, cutting, scraping, knocking, cracking, hammering, pounding, the hands of the city builder tremble to artless soul-exhaustion. The builder sees destruction and creation as one, and the unheard becomes audible. Submerged in stacked stone and tunnelled soil, his echoes become independent, and he begins to call, and respond, to the invisible. Around and around, the unseen sonic trail spirals upward, and out. The sprawling heights of the city skyline are then perceived as more a feast of the ear, than the eye – all the more realistic in a city where hundreds of soaring minarets cry out in prayer five times a day. For the audience, patiently seated to experience Timber, the theater furnished the back wall with a neon sign that glowed: “Listen To Your Eyes”. Yet, for most music lovers feeling the performance of highly intellectual composition can be a chore. That may be the charm for a connoisseur, though judging by the faces of three children
listening, and at times almost everyone who attended Borusan Sanat to appreciate Timber performed by sa.ne.na, the sound is not necessarily welcoming to newcomers. Comparably, the architectural utility, and aesthetic, or lack thereof, in modern cities is often imposing, and even confrontational. “Architecture is supposed to serve the needs of the people, not create environments in which people must try to fit,” wrote senior biomedical researcher Alexandros A. Lavdas for the Journal of Biourbanism. “From a mathematical point of view, both music and architecture are ways of combining basic materials to form more complex structures.” “Xenakis – and dozens of others – does not appreciate the fact that aesthetic criterion, the ‘beautiful’ or ‘ugly’ verdict, is the result of computation – albeit an immensely complicated and subconscious one,” writes Lavdas, in reference to the pioneering work of Semir Zeki, who coined the term “neuroesthetics” as a study of music and architecture, as with all of the arts. “The idea of a messianic mission to save modern music from the ‘impulse of the moment’, as described by Xenakis, has its exact counterpart in modern architecture.” In his study, Lavdas adheres to a neuroesthetic approach based on the logic that the beauty of architecture, and music, are originally physiological, and that human experience is a test of authentic beauty, and what is good for humanity, in the arts, as in all aesthetic experience. “Percussion music is a contemporary transition from keyboard-influenced music to the all-sound music of the future,” said John Cage, often referred to as “the percussion composer” deriving from his experience as a student of Schoenberg, when he realized he had no feel for harmony. “Any sound is acceptable to the composer of percussion
music,” he said, for the American Masters documentary. “Percussion music is revolution,” Cage wrote in Silence, his timelessly relevant collection of writings and lectures. In a country, and region, provoked to enduring political unrest, a sense of revolution through new music that speaks to the future of urban civilization may provide greatly needed spiritual fortification. If the notion of construction as music has any merit, then Cage is a prophet. One of the most impressive, and controversial conditions of modern life in Turkey is the way in which the people endure the ongoing, and unrelenting development overhaul of the largest city in the country, Istanbul. From the municipal demolition of illegal cafés on the shorefront of Karaköy, at the Golden Horn inlet of the Bosphorus, to the incomplete redesign of Taksim Square, the core of Istanbul proper, the sound of construction is ever-present. To witness the premiere Turkish interpretation of Timber, originally wrought out of the EuroAmerican imagination, is to observe a microcosm of the greater acculturation through the relatively harmless window of the arts world. While one audience member, a student of the Advanced Center for Musical Research at Istanbul Technical University, noticed missteps in the performance of the very complex arrangement, especially where cues were applied seemingly impromptu, the musicality of the piece was not lost. As neo-industrial creativity continues to breach the contemporary aesthetics of futurism, percussion music is the global sound of tomorrow. And by performing the works of great percussion composers, the Turkish, as with all peoples, may advance towards a rebirth of urbanization suffused with a more artful sense of direction.
Everyone their own list… Words E. Osman Erden
Prepared by ArtReview Magazine since fourteen years, Power 100 is a list of the strongest names in the art world, embodied by a jury of 16. The latest edition was published in October. Art dealer couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth working in Zurich, London, New York, and Somerset is on top of the chart. According to Mark Rappolt, editor of British ArtReview, the Wirth couple’s perspective on methods of selling, and supporting art, led them to be considered the art world’s strongest names. Ai Weiwei - favored by the Chinese government, until the Sichuan Earthquake in 2008 when the artist revealed the corruption in the Chinese Communist Party by spotting a light on the names of over five thousand students who died in a collapsed school due to the poor quality of the building, and was accused of being a traitor - is number two on the list. Arrested by the Chinese police in 2011, and released with a ban from leaving the country with his passport confiscated, the artist only recently got his right to travel abroad after four years. When Weiwei topped the Power 100 chart in 2011, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman made a condemning statement towards ArtReview. On the latest edition, there are only two artists in the first ten of the list. Marina Abramović, who is trying to raise funds for the institute she wants to establish with the Kickstar campaign she started in 2013, is the other artist in the top ten. The performance artist stayed on the agenda with the workshops she carried out under the name of the Marina Abramović Institute in Brazil, and Australia in 2015. Approximately 15 thousand people participated to more than 200 workshops she did only in Brazil. On Power 100, there are in total 25 artists. On the first edition of the list in 2002, there were only four. Since 2010, we observe that there are more and more artists present on the list. There were 13 artists in the 2010 and 2011
lists, while in the last three years there are 24-25 artists. For the last three years, it seems that ArtReview jury applied an artist quota on the list. We observe that politically correct worries become more and more binding in determining the names. Although they are on the bottom, there are more and more non-Western names on the list. This year, curator of Sharjah Biennial 13, Lebanese Christine Tohme is 74th on the list, while founder and manager of Seul’s Kukje Gallery, Hyun-Sook Lee is 82nd. Sculptor Riyas Komu, and painter Bose Krishnamachari who were commissioned by India’s Kerala State government to organize Kochi-Murziri Biennial, and who have successfully brought to life the first biennial of the country, are spotted on the 86th row. South African artist Willian Kentridge is 81st, Bangladeshi collector couple Nadia and Rajeeb Samdani is 98th. Vasıf Kortun, from Turkey who has been in the list for the past four years, is left out for this year. Looking at the list, we observe that artists who produce with political and social concerns such as Hito Steyerl, Theaster Gates, e-flux team (Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood), Rikrit Tiravanija, Olafur Eliasson, William Kentridge, Trevor Paglen, Rick Lowe, Riyas Komu, Bose Krishnamachari and Akram Zaatari take place on the list along with Ai Weiwei. Andrea Alessi, and Joel Kuennen, editors at ArtSlant.com claim that the reason why these names are more visible in this list is because the money-driven art world finds this left attitude sexy. Editor of ArtReview, Mark Rappolt, states to The Guardian that the art world today is shaped with the dynamics of mutual benefit, and money but that the actors of this field refrain from talking about this. According to the editor this situation is brought to agenda with the Power 100. According to Rappolt, the artists present
ILLUSTRATION SEDAT GİRGİN
2015 top 10 lists according to Artlyst and Artreview Artlyst Alternative Power 100
ArtReview Power 100
01 Ai Weiwei (Artist) 02 Nicholas Serota (Director, TATE) 03 Alex Farquharson (Founding Director, Nottingham Contemporary, Next Director, TATE Britain) 04 Anita and Poju Zabludowicz (Founders, Zabludowicz Collection) 05 Tim Marlow (Art critic, publisher, and Exhibition Director, Royal Academy) 06 James Lingwood/Michael Morris (Founding director, Artangel) 07 Sarah Lucas (Artist) 08 El Anatsui (Artist) 09 Maria Balshaw (Director, Whitworth Gallery) 10 Sean Scully (Artist)
01 Iwan & Manuela Wirth (Founding Director, Hauser&Wirth Gallery) 02 Ai Weiwei (Artist) 03 David Zwirner (Owner, David Zwirner Gallery) 04 Hans Ulrich Obrist & Julia Peyton-Jones (Directors, Serpentine Gallery) 05 Nicholas Serota (Director, TATE) 06 Larry Gagosian (Owner, Gagosian Gallery) 07 Glenn D. Lowry (Director, MoMA) 08 Marina Abramović (Artist) 09 Adam D. Weinberg (Director, Whitney Müzesi) 10 Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev (Curator)
on the list are those who have not created significant works or exhibited in the past one-year, but those who succeed to keep themselves on the agenda due to a network of relationships. There are harsh criticisms towards Power 100 in the art world. The leading criticism is on the fact that the shaping criteria are neither objective nor transparent. Others are commenting that Power 100 does not go beyond creating a tabloid agenda. However, the list carries a greater sense then just being a tabloid field. Like the editor of the magazine states, in addition to exposing an existing yet overlooked situation, Power 100 supports the progress of the process of contemporary art being more articulated with capital in the last ten years. On one hand, we go through a period that questions the state of the agenda in contemporary art with publications approaching art critically and theoretically such as October, and e-flux; on the other, we observe that there aren’t enough art writers, or critics in this kind of lists. The list has a limited effect on the agenda, and although it has been
organized for the past fourteen years, it looks far from presenting the contemporary art canon with a strong contribution. Whether ArtReview Power 100 creates any permanent effect can be evaluated in the frame of the concept of canon. Canon, one of the most important elements shaping the way society perceives art, first appeared as a concept in the art scene in the 20th century. Today, the meaning of canon in the field of art comprises masterpieces, and the artists producing them. Therefore, we can mention various canons on both art works, and artists. In the meaning, canon points to an authority. Because determining the best, and picking them from history, is, in some measure, the work of the well respected. This authority can both be an individual and an institution. The ideology shaping the canon directly reflects on the canon. Thus, criticism against canons of the 20th century was nurtured from concepts shaped in the field of political opinion. Another element that helped shape the canon is art historians. The fact that they displayed the names, and works
of art that an authority determines to be significant via the art history books that art historians write, to the society is crucial in the shaping of the canon. Unlike other periods, the significance of art criticism cannot be ignored in the formation of art canon. Critics have been viewed as authority, been taken seriously in the shaping of art history. For instance, Clement Greenberg’s criticism is amongst the strongest reasons of the current recognition of some artists and movements. Greenberg’s contribution as an authority figure is not negligible in the importance given to abstract expressionism, and Jackson Pollock in art history. Another widely discussed subject in the West in the framework of canon is whether canon is valid in the field of contemporary art. As much as there seems to be a contradiction between the contemporary and the permanent, we can talk of a canon involving artists, if not the produced works. The rise of contemporary art collectors in the world, the enormous auction prices in this field, biennials, art fairs, giant exhibitions, and cata-
logues, numerous contemporary art magazines, and the fact that there ever more criticism in these magazines and in the highly circulated national newspapers, provide enough data to constitute a canon. Power 100 does not carry a ‘canonic’ feature beyond the reveal of the current in a tabloid manner. Therefore, it does not provide art history with a significant contribution beyond the chatter it creates. In the last years, we see the rise of alternative magazines to Power 100. Internet based British art platform Artlyst, publishes a list entitled Alternative Power 100 since five years. The list that editors of Artlyst, Paul Carter Robinson, and Paul Black, claim to have been created by solely selecting from effective names for their creativity in the art scene, as opposed to ArtReview’s list that they find to be based on relationships of benefit, and they define to be Machiavellist, was published a couple of months ago. Rather than incorporating art world in general, Alternative Power 100 mainly focuses on the British art scene.
Ä°Ă§inde sana ait bir ses var.
The secrets of the body Words İlker Cihan Biner
MILO MOIRÉ, FOTOĞRAF MARC P.
The only truth in a burning candle is the continuity of its flame. The flames sustain their continuity by reflecting their light up and down, here and there… The body itself is continuous just like the flames of a burning candle. The layers of the body continue processing therefore allowing the organism to exist in permanent transformation. Yet, not all bodies process in the same way. The body is unique. As the uniqueness of the body is a continuum, one may never know what a body is capable of. The body has been perceived as dangerous for centuries due to its “obscurity”. In the Antique era, the body was seen as the prison of the soul. During this period, the soul corresponds to the essence, while the body to the illusion. The body is temporary; yet the soul is eternal. This idea also comes into being in monotheist religions. With modernity, the form of the body is transformed. Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” reduces the body to the mind. The mind then becomes the new god of modernity. The body thus starts ruling the mind following its sovereign over the soul. The mind is still dominated today. The mind manages the body in which it is centralized. The reign of the mind in science, art, and politics has now become a norm. The mindless body is isolated. The body is passive, constantly changing form over the centuries under the domination of rulers. The inside and the outside of the passive body The prisoned body is subject to the segregation of the internal and the external. The inside of the body is its internal organs. The internal organs – especially the sexual ones- are those that need to be covered up. The internal are dependent on the external, and the external is the look of the body itself.
It is this segregation of the internal and the external that renders the body passive, and its surface becomes a seal. In her book Powers of Horror, Julia Kristeva gives reference to this partition of internal and external body. The notion of disgust is quiet useful in splitting the body into two. The disgusting one is a taboo in the body that forms a boundary, and helps build a unique subject. According to Kristeva, the disgusting one describes the discarded from the body, the discharged feces, or the other. This otherness developing outside the ‘me-ness’, determines the external limits of the subject. The way to put a limit on the body is actually to take an internal part, outside of it, and to repel it into a contaminating otherness. This external limit of the subject, is very much dependent on what has been thrown out of the subject. The internal/external segregation of the subject, gives the body an identity. The identity is about what is kept inside, and what is held outside. Sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism are deeds isolating and externalizing bodies due to their gender, sexuality, and color. Here is the reason why Kristeva gives reference to the practicality of the notion of disgust. The identities that are established based on the exclusion and domination of the other or of a series of others, consolidate with the practicality of disgust. The fine line between the inside and the outside of the subject, are social norms and supervision. The inside of the subject transforms into its outside therefore shutting itself down. This is how the surfaces of the body are sealed. The seal of the surfaces are the continuous limits of the subject. Every disgusting object flushing out of the subject eventually breaks this seal.
An artist tearing down the inside/outside segregation of the body: Milo Moire What stabilizes the subject in the creation of social norms is the segregation of the internal and the external. What happens if this subject is given a shock? The two performances of the artist Milo Moire tear down the normative subject, as I mentioned before. Moire’s 2014 ‘Plopegg’ performance at the opening of Art Cologne in Germany razes down the segregation of the inside and the outside of the body. Placing eggs injected with ink/paint inside her vagina, she performs her painting by dropping the eggs on a white surface, from a higher platform set up for her. The artist calls this process ‘PlopEgg’. In social norms, the artist’s vagina represents the inside of the body. The vagina that produces the work called ‘Plopegg’ in the performance, tears down the segregation of inside and outside. The aesthetics of the painting comes from the inside of the vagina, the source of social disgust, contrarian to social norms… The annihilation of the difference between internal geography of the body (internal organs, genital areas, etc.) and the external geography moves the artist beyond social norms and supervision. Moreover, with her performance, Moire revolts against the male-dominated art tradition based on physical strength in art history. Another Moire performance takes place during the event at the LWL Museum of Art and Culture. The artist wanders around nu paintings, all naked herself, holding a naked baby in her arms. What was notable from the performance is that the visitors of the museum were embarrassed to see her naked body. Why would the visitors be embarrassed to see Moire’s naked body, while they were looking at nu paintings in the museum? This feeling is born out of the fact that the artist tore down the internal and the external representations of her body. The parts that belong to the inside of her body are outside. There is no more any difference between the inside and the outside of her body. This kind of a performance is a revolt against social norms. These two performances by Milo Moire move beyond the internal and external boundaries imposed on the body, and affirm life itself. Existential Aesthetics Foucault mentions of turning one’s life into a work of art. Even though Milo Moire tries to transform her life into a work of art, these performances remain her own way of doing so. To replicate Moire’s way, will be just an imitation. In addition, the efforts to tear down the internal and external representations of the body will undoubtedly remain insufficient in transforming life into a work of art. To affirm the body’s totalitarian ability/power is a piece of existential aesthetics because each body is unique. The uniqueness adds a distinction to the body. As long as a body adds a distinction to itself, we shall never know what that body can be capable of.
ulus* Kerim Suner, son to one of Turkey’s first computer engineers, has himself pursued a career in computer engineering. His interest in photography dates back to his early youth, and has ever since evolved. He is one of few photographers using the wet collodion technique. He has used this very arduous technique to take pictures of old calculators he has been making a collection of. The result is a nostalgic, perfectionist, reverential series of photographs…
Words Merve Akar Akgün
*Latin word meaning pebble used for counting, or calculating
Merve Akar Akgün: The first time I saw a photograph taken with the collodion technique was at Nilgün Beller’s apartment, and you were in it. How has your relationship with photography started? Kerim Suner: My relationship with photography dates back to middle school. During high school, I had already transformed the bathroom at home into a dark room. I was enrolled in the photography club at the German High school. New devices were invented at the time, and I was very interested in them. My mother had a gallery back then, and I kept asking her to exhibit my work. MAA: Lebriz Art Gallery… KS: Exactly, one of the best at the time. I kept insisting my mother to let me have an exhibition during summer if not during high season, and she kept saying it wouldn’t be right. MAA: What were you taking pictures of, then? KS: Mostly street photography. I would wander around the streets in Istanbul during the weekend and take pictures. Today I admit that they really didn’t deserve to be exhibited, but back then I thought otherwise. In 1983, not many would exhibit photography. But then my mother held a photo exhibition for Ismail Cem. He was both a close friend, and a well recognized figure. He had taken pictures of autumn leaves in Boston; I remember being very mad, but I still keep the catalogue. MAA: Were you professionally involved with photography or was it just a hobby? KS: At school, I had a teacher who taught me every single detail about photography. After he quit the school, I felt abandoned. I tried and progressed up to a point but then when I went to college, I lost interest. I bought my first autofocus camera in the beginning of the 90’s, and then my relationship with photography was completely over. MAA: Maybe it felt too easy… KS: I think so… Before my son was born, it reappeared. I tried digital camera; switching from one model to another. Then finally, I bought a fully manual Leica, then one that only takes black and white pictures. Then I bought a camera with film, and started washing my own prints. This way, I went back in time all the way back to the 1850’s. The photo you saw at my mother’s has a story to tell. While researching various techniques, I saw someone working with wet collodion in a video. The specialty of this technique is that the larger your camera the larger your print will be, since you put the plaque inside the camera. My camera was 20x23cm in size so it was very hard to go out with. Ian Ruther had turned a worn-down van into a special camera by completely isolating the inside, and placing a special lens in front of it. To take a photo, he would get inside the van, close the caps, put the lens on, and would take the picture by opening and closing the front of the objective. The inside of the van would also serve as a dark room. I thought I wished I would be there. Three months later, Ian Ruther was taking that picture of me that you saw, with that van machine. There was a lottery to make a demo picture, and I was randomly selected. Later it was a complete wrangle. He could not give me the photo as he was represented by a gallery. The owner of the gallery asked for an enormous sum for the print. I had to thoroughly negotiate but finally I purchased it. I later gave it to my mother as a gift as I wouldn’t hang my own portrait at my place. MAA: The wet collodion is not a popular technique. As far as I understand the easier it got in technique the more you were repulsed. I would say
that you like it simple, but the technique is a lot more complicated! Did you know these machines? KS: No, I purchased them later on. But when I first started I had a folding camera that I used for another type of film I had. That was much smaller. I had to buy this one when the need arose. MAA: And there is a dry version of this technique: the dry collodion. KS: In 1839, after photography was invented, two techniques were found. The first is French Louis Daguerre’s Daguerrotype and the other English Henry Fox Talbot’s Calotype. Both techniques had their ups and downs. In the Daguerrotype system, the quality of the image is very high, printed on metal plate but it can only be printed once and cannot be redeveloped. It is very toxic because there is mercury vapor in it. The Calotype system, on the other hand, puts the negative on a photography paper, from whereon you can redevelop but the process is very long and the image quality very low. If you wanted to use this technique, you would have to pay a license fee. Not everybody can. In 1851, Scott Archer merged the advantages of the two techniques and created the wet collodion technique. It is easier and is not patented. Dry collodion on the other hand is a level up. When wet collodion was discovered, photography expanded in the world. The disadvantage of the wet collodion is that the process needed to be over before the plate dries up. So the photographers had to carry their dark room with them. Hence the dry technique was developed in 1870. They both have the same principle. By immobilizing the plaque, it is possible to create ready glass negatives. Mass production of dry plaques started with George Eastman, and then he founded Kodak. So Kodak really started its business by producing the wet collodion machines. Synthetic materials then replaced the glass. And then, the films that we still use today were discovered. MAA: And when did you start collecting calculators? KS: Accidently. I went to Rahmi Koç museum when it first opened, and was in shock to see their computer section. I wished I hadn’t thrown away the computers I had used up to then. Their collection was quiet weak. I was really upset of having sold the devices I had, so I went back on e-Bay to repurchase equivalents. While on e-bay, the banners would keep advertising me calculators under “this might be of interest to you”. In Turkey, many people are aware of the brand Facit, and the rest is mostly unheard of. It got my interest, I purchased one or two, and then it progressed thereon. I then laid off for a certain reason. But I always had my mind on them. MAA: Do you think of opening other photography exhibitions? KS: Yes, I’d like to keep on. I need to get out but I do not have a mobile dark room. I will either have a box made to a carpenter friend or buy a ready made from overseas. The first destination I have in mind is Cappadocia. KS: Let’s think of a digital photograph. You, as the photographer have your share of contribution in the end product, but in fact others have their share of contribution in this as well. For all software, and technological devices, from the sensors within to the people involved in the production, the computer engineers who write the software, or the people writing the Photoshop… There is so much intervention. Should one of them neglect to
For all software, and technological devices, from the sensors within to the people involved in the production, the computer engineers who write the software, or the people writing the Photoshop... There is so much intervention.
do the best of their jobs, the end product would not be as neat. Even the last step, printing, is very crucial. Were the printing machine not of ultimate quality, the end product would not be as successful. Imagine how many of us are taking that photo. A huge team! With the wet collodion, you are one, and alone. There is no one else. You are not dependent on anybody else. You produce from scratch, using the most basic chemical materials. MAA: Can you express them as well? KS: Eggs are used to avoid the layer of film from lifting. But the most basic material is collodion. You need to mix this chemical substance with others. Metal salt, ethyl alcohol, etc. The collodion forms a sticky layer on the glass surface. The glass is then put in water, mixed with silver nitrate. The chemical reaction makes the metal salt sensitive to light. The plate that was not sensitive to light up until that moment gets now ready to take picture. And at last, when washing, iron sulfate, alcohol, and acid are used. It is also possible to make these steps from organic materials. I even produce the lacquer myself. The base material is the resin of a fruit grown in Africa. You first melt the resin with alcohol, and then filter it at least fifty times to have no residue, and finally you top it with some lavender oil.
DEARDORFF, 8X10, 1960
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Notes 1 Soroban. The abacus was invented in Babylon and Egypt around 3,000 BC. And has been used for centuries all over the world. Abacus was introduced to Japan in the 17th century by the Chinese and it was adopted very quickly, named as soroban and further refined by the Japanese custom. After the latest refinement in the 1930’s the Japanese soroban reached its current form and it is still widely used in Japan. Specially trained soroban Masters can perform complex arithmetic operations much faster than their counterparts using electronic calculators. 2 Burroughs. William Seward Burroughs (1857 - 1898) was a young clerk in the Cayuga County National Bank of Auburn. As part of his job he spent long and tedious hours adding numbers and became interested in solving the problem of creating an adding machine. In the bank there had been a number of earlier prototypes, but in inexperienced users’ hands, those that existed would sometimes give incorrect, and at times outrageous, answers. In 1882 he moved to St. Louis and started working in a machine shop where he had the opportunity to focus on his adding
machine design. After struggling with many technical and financial difficulties finally in 1884 he managed complete his first prototype, which was able to add up to 9 digits and print the result.Next year he patented his design and started manufacturing of Burroughs Adding Machines. Until 1887 he manufactured 50 adding machines, which sold for 475 USD (12,000 USD in 2015 dollars). The company started to grow and always managed to adept new technologies including the electronics revolution. Burroughs became one of the leading computers firms in the 70’s and 80’s. In 1986 Burroughs merged with Sperry Corporation, another leading computer firm of its era, and formed Unisys, which still exists today. Burroughs has a very special place in my personal history. Burroughs was the first electronic calculator I ever used and the first computer I played games about 40 years ago when I was a little child. 3 Adix. Adix was patented by the Austrian inventor Joseph Pallweber in 1904. It was manufactured by the Adix Company in Manheim between 19041930. This small device, which measures 15 x 10 x 3 cm and weighs only 250 gr.
can only add single digit numbers. In spite of its limited functionality its was considered as a status symbol thanks to its elegant design and grained leather brown wooden case with velvet interior. It is also the first computing device containing aluminum parts. 4 Odhner. Willgodt Odhner (18451903) was a young Swedish engineer working in Ludvig Nobel’s (older brother of Alfred Nobel) machine factory in St. Petersburg. In 1875 he finished the first prototype of his 8-digit arithmometer. It was a refined and simpler version of the Thomas calculating machine, which is considered as the first commercially successful practical calculator to be used in office environment. He convinced his boss to manufacture and sell 14 calculating machines. After the initial 14 calculators Nobel lost his interest in this project and Odhner continued the venture on his own. After his death in 1903 his sons continued the business until 1918 when the factory was nationalized and closed during the Russian revolution. By that time Odhner was the best-known calculator brand and there were many imitations like Brunsviga, Thales and Facit in the market. The
family moved to Sweden and continued manufacturing calculators until 1970’s under the “Original Odhner” name. 5 Curta. Curt Herzstark (1902 -1988), son of the Austrian calculator manufacturer Samuel Jacob Herzstark. Grew up with calculators since age 3 and studied mechanics. After his studied he started working in his father’s factory. After a while he moved to Germany and worked for in german calculator manufacturers AstraWerke and Wanderer. Upon his return to Austria after one year he started managing the family business. He also had the opportunity to start working on his own miniature calculator design. The design based on Leibnitz’s 17th century ‘Stepped Drum’ mechanics was capable of performing four arithmetic operations as well as square roots. Unfortunately, World War II broke before he could complete his design and start manufacturing. During the war the factory was forced to manufacture precision gauges for the German military and Curt Herzstark was arrested and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp where he worked in the mechanics factory as a technician. While in prison, Herzstark was allowed to begin to design his
calculating machine. He managed to survive the concentration camp and at the end of the WWII he was able to commence production of the machines at a new Factory in Liechtenstein, launching the first machines in 1948. 6 Fowlers. Fowler Calculator Ltd. was founded by William H. Fowler in 1898. The Manchester based company manufactured slide rules, scientific and mathematical instruments. Fowler’s Universal Calculator is a circular variation of the commonly known linear slide rule. Used mainly by engineers, scientists and engineers The Fowler has only two controls, one to rotate the scales (all in one piece) under a fixed red radial hairline, and the other to rotate a transparent disc bearing a black hairline. By setting the angular separation of the two hairlines to represent a given multiplication factor (i.e. logarithm), one can then use this separation to multiply or divide any number by that factor. There are also scales for reckoning cube roots, reciprocals, logarithms, sines and tangents. Being circular, they pack more length into less space, allowing a higher precision than a straight slide rule of similar compactness.
a typical Anatolian story (or not) We spoke to Arif Aşçı, now painting in Ayvalık, about his exhibition at the Milli Reasürans Art Gallery, and his ever relationship with photography. The exhibition will be open to visit from March 2nd, to April 15th.
Words Saliha Yavuz
Saliha Yavuz: You studied painting, and you have painted up until you went on the infamous Asian trip. In this process, you also had a complicated relationship with your family, right? Arif Aşçı: It’s actually a typical Anatolian story; the 70’s… At home they would say “Son, study, but first have a profession! Painting will not provide you a living!” And, I was accepted to medical school! I was the only university candidate in the family; but I insisted, I wanted to go to the Academy! At the time, art education meant Istanbul State Fine Arts Academy. At high school, I was drawing patterns in pencil in the streets of Adana. The neighborhood was like the scenery from the movie Hope of Yılmaz Güney. Everything around me was madly pictorial, -or in the name of photography- photogenic. Yet neither the patterns nor the oil paintings could be hung on the walls of our home because we were praying, and it is forbidden to hang any pictures! I am talking of a world where a painting hung on the wall is iconized. It was all said in a sweet but rigid manner, though, not cruel. In the end, they accepted, and kept helping me financially during my studies in Istanbul. A great story from those times: During mid-year vacations in February, I had to paint around a hundred patterns for school. I kept drawing in Adana, making portraits of everyone around that I knew. So, my father told me “Son, you keep drawing, spare some time to study!” SY: Photography was involved with the Asian trip right? AA: I graduated from the Academy in 1982. I stayed in Italy for a
ISTANBUL, 2009, PHOTO ARİF AŞÇI
while. I wandered into the museums in Florence, Venice, and Rome. I remember how I was impressed by Caravaggio just like yesterday. Then I joined the Academy –later called Mimar Sinan University Faculty of Fine Arts- in 1984, as assistant to Süleyman Saim Tekcan’s unique pressing workshops. I always had the dream of touring the world in my mind. But not to the west, to the east. It was the military coups years, a suppressing atmosphere was reining the country. I remember thinking ‘It is as if there is a wet, heavy quilt on top of Turkey’. I saved some money, and then I got on the Eastern Express from Haydarpaşa. The first stop was Iran, where there was the Iran-Iraq war. During a three-year period, I went all over the Asian countries spending 1 dollar a day. During this trip, I first learned to take pictures. I learned to tell stories with short yet striking expressions, and matching them with photography. First Hurriyet newspaper published them. Then other magazines, and finally world press. For example, the Zoroastrian Temple interview I did. Gamma distributed it to the whole world; I don’t even know in how many countries it got published. I got away with the following from this trip: that the world is not just the West. Today, everyone is aware but it was not the case in the 80’s. SY: In your home in Galata, I had corresponded to a talk. The long table at your place must have hosted many. I know that your relationship with the next generation, with the youth is a close one. What kind of a dialogue is it?
AA: Since I started photography at a rather late age, I always wondered what the young generation did. There are numerous behaviors, point of views, all of them fresh energy. I wanted to share this energy at home, since the place was also suitable. Then we got close friends with the Magnum photographers. They started staying at my place. We started throwing great parties with tables of 30-40 guests. Ara Güler was often a guest. Koudelka, Alex Webb, Nikos Economopoulos, Harry Gruyaert, Abbas, Antoine D’Agata, Pinkhassov, Bruno Barbey from Magnum… and many other foreign photographers from outside Magnum. SY: At the exhibition, and actually in your photographs, we see mundane details that we don’t recognize in our daily lives. These photographs are sometimes like a documentary, sometimes like a painting. What is the relationship between painting and photography for you? AA: Mundane things, are all around us all day, and affect us deeply. What is more important is how you look at these things. I think, when I look around, and take pictures, the painter inside slowly gets on the stage, and shows himself. I have never been a documentary photographer or a photojournalist. The more I started taking pictures like paintings, the more I told myself to go back to painting. Now, I am in this grey zone. I believe now painting and photography are on the same stage. SY: Following from the exhibition, what is the secret in the relationship that everyday mundane stages, and things form amongst themselves?
ISTANBUL, 2010, PHOTO ARİF AŞÇI
AA: Here is the importance of looking at photography over and over again. A couple years ago, I received a significant prize in Japan’s Hokkaido Island, at the Higashikawa Photography Festival. I also started a retrospective; the Japanese went in the exhibition space by removing their shoes. My interpreter asked me to make a speech for the young photographers. I had to say meaningful things to about a hundred Japanese photographers. I advised them all:’ All artists in art history left us with an enormous heritage, for us to look around again, and in different forms. Now, as fair heirs, let’s look at these masters again and again, but as if it is the first time. Let’s re-evaluate the visual treasure that we have inherited.’ I then gave examples of artists that achieved this: Irving Penn, Yousuf Karsh, Avedon, Cindy Sherman… I told them how Irving Penn’s use of light is based on Vermeer’s paintings. I recommended them to insist on looking back at their own painters like Hiroshige, Hokusai ve Utamaro. SY: We do not own a decent photography gallery in Turkey; nor a museum. What do you think of the photographic art environment in Turkey? AA: What ‘decent’ thing do we have in Turkey? In 1986, students took me to Tehran Modern Arts Museum. Think about it, war is continuing, Saddam’s rockets are falling, sandbags everywhere… In the museum’s garden, sculptures of Calder and Max Ernst welcomed us. You see Picasso and Chagall followed by
Rothko, Pollock, and a great Bacon trilogy, Roy Lichtenstein, Barnett Newman, Andy Warhol, etc. And also Iranian artists. The shah’s wife Farah Diba purchased these at the beginning of the 1970’s when each of them were not worth more than 10 thousand dollars. During the same time, at bourgeois homes here in Turkey, you couldn’t even find Turkish painters’ works. What are they thinking of exhibiting at the museums that they keep establishing today? Seven years ago, when I first went to Korea, my friends took me to the Leeum Museum that the Samsung family founded. I should say ‘museums’, because I’m talking about three museums next to each other. See the importance they give to architecture: the three buildings were designed by Jean Nouvel, Mario Botta, and Rem Koolhaas. I would be ashamed to count the masterpieces inside, and compare them to ours. Careful! The issue is not about spending loads of money, but it’s about vision. Have a look at which museums the İznik tiles are exhibited at today, almost none are here; all of them are in New York, London, in the collections of Arab sheiks. However, for years, some tiles are sold at auctions. Why don’t we have an İznik museum? These tiles are the most beautiful things Turks have created. Why don’t we have a miniature museum? There is nothing! Everything is rotting in the depots of Topkapi Palace.
p.c. studio - photo tommaso sartori
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İpek Duben’s Studio
Words Nazlı Pektaş Photograhy Ekin Özbiçer
To be in İpek Duben’s studio, was on one hand to wander around the items she selectively collected through all her life, and on the other, it meant to try and decipher the tone that the artist set, via a time travel through this collection.
Let us remember the artist’s Sherife series painted in 1981, which were paintings of dresses, iconographically representing images of a woman migrating from Anatolia to İstanbul in the 1970’s. Blue, red, pink, plain, and floral… They were the sewing of the soul, the word, and the identity changing/transforming/ deteriorating with this migration. The language in Duben’s work since Sherife has always pointed to women, and to her impossibility in society. In this period, the augmenting time has been recorded in Duben’s reels of memory. Whatever she saw, liked and selected, Duben invited them to herself. Her findings have sometimes turned into an artwork, and sometimes been hidden in her studio.
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Wandering into her studio in Asmalımescit, I recalled the cabinets of curiosity1 (Wunderkammer*). Even though I did not encounter the rarest fossils in the world, fetuses, precious stones, or weird objects, to become acquainted with the ‘rarest’ for Duben, has marginally captivated me. Therefore, I must say I am not overstating. Hadn’t Surrealists extended the principle of ‘cabinets of curiosity’? They were mixing and interweaving various objects and materials. Or let us remind ourselves Christian Boltanski’s Vitrine of Reference (1971). If you recall, the vitrine was gathered with childhood memories.2 1 James Putnam, Museums of Artist, Editor: Ali Artun, İletişim Publications, İstanbul, 2005, p. 10- 11. * The cabinets of curiosity (Wunderkammer) that existed in Europe between the 16th and the 18th centuries, were based on the idea that the whole universe coould be inspected in one special room, and stated the curiosity of an individual in collecting objects. Rare, precious, or weird objects were gathered to be displayed for viewers’ attention and curiosity, in order to provide aesthetic pleasure. The appreciation of the extraordinary was in harmony with the mannerist appreciation of the end of the 16th century. They also had some parallelism with Dadaist, sürrealist, and some contemporary artworks. 2 James Putnam, Museums of Artist, Editor: Ali Artun, İletişim Publications, İstanbul, 2005, p. 25.
To be in İpek Duben’s studio dragged me into an utterly different tale along with familiarities in art history. The artist’s studio, giving birth to her works’ underlying deep meaning, transforms into a living organism at the very entrance, and then everything starts whispering.
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The foundlings, and the transformed objects, wait their time in boxes, drawers, closets, and on walls before they are displayed by constituting a new language via İpek Duben’s memory. Bottle corks, matchboxes, wires, colorful mica objects, toys… Some of them are the studio’s main property, bust, pencil case, and toys. Another one is a sketch model of an old exhibition; some are exhibited paintings. Some are brushes, many are paintings and paper… For instance, İpek Duben’s shoes… They know the roads she has traveled by heart. They stand there, glittering. We found her husband Alan’s baby shoes on a rack; part of İpek’s treasure. Then the newspaper clippings… Metallic glasses… A sculpture looking for the past that you would take for a telephone. At that moment in time, Ekin Özbiçer taking pictures of the studio asks: “Would you say you are attached to the past?”. “I watch time” Duben replies.
05.03.2016 V E
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teamLab: Sanat ile Fiziksel Mekânın Arasında teamLab: Between Art and the Physical Space SANATÇILAR / ARTISTS : teamLab KÜRATÖR / CURATOR : CHARLES MEREWETHER
Sadece hafta sonları 10.00–20.00 arası ziyarete açıktır. Open only on weekends between 10 am–8 pm Rumelihisarı Mahallesi Baltalimanı Hisar Caddesi No: 5 Perili Köşk, Sarıyer, İstanbul borusancontemporary.com
Japon kültürünün unsurlarını İstanbul’a taşıyan “teamLab: Sanat ile Fiziksel Mekânın Arasında” adlı sergi, sizi anime ve manganın ötesine, dokunup değiştirebileceğiniz hareketli imgelerin dünyasında bir yolculuğa çıkaracak. Odanın bir yanından diğerine uzanan gürüldeyen şelaleyi veya dalgaları, çiçeklerin açmasını, bir görünüp bir kaybolan kelebekleri seyredin. Kendinizi bu düşsel alemin, doğanın adeta canlandığı bu olağanüstü dünyanın içine bırakın; sanat yaşamınıza girerken siz de sanal gerçekliğin içine dalın. “teamLab: Between Art and Physical Space” from Japan will take you on a journey beyond that of the world of anime and manga, a world of moving images you can both touch and change. Watch the tumbling waterfall or waves that seem to move across the room, flowers bloom of make butterflies appear and disappear. Immerse yourself in this imaginary world, into a nature come live where art enters your life and you enter the virtual real. K AT K I L A R I N D A N D O L AY I TEŞEKKÜRLER W I T H S P EC I A L T H A N KS TO
Siyah Dalgalar / Black Waves, 2016 Dijital yerleştirme / Digital Installation. Ed. 1/4 Ikkan Sanat Galerisi ve Pace Galeri’nin izniyle, fotoğraf: teamLab / Courtesy Ikkan Art Gallery and Pace Gallery, photo by teamLab
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The objects of the studio are İpek Duben’s traces. Duben reproduces these traces that get in touch with her, that are backstitched to her, without removing them from life itself. Nothing is useless to deserve to be thrown, and all traces are remixed with life with their own traces. İpek Duben’s studio is a memory house. Like in her works, Memory Chip (2012), this house is telling various stories by mixing what it hides within, with what the life is hiding. And this house permanently performs, by ironically borrowing what happened in the past, from now.
YOKO ONO, HALF-A-ROOM, 1967. ARTIST IN HER INSTALLATION DURING HALF-A-WIND SHOW AT LISSON GALLEY, 1967, LONDON. PHOTO CLAY PERRY ©YOKO ONO
FROM THE WORLD: LYON
Contemporary art in Lyon Words Julitte Ihler
In France, Paris is not the only culture city in the country. Almost each city has its own good museum, and their number is increasing. Between 9 March - 10 July 2016, MAC Lyon (Musée d’Art Contemporaine [Museum of Contemporary Art] houses an authentic Yoko Ono retrospective as an alternative to the Yoko Ono exhibition that has been traveling the world for a while now. We spoke to museum director, Thierry Raspail, about the exhibition.
Juliette Ihler: Why did you decide to organize your own retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lyon even though “Yoko Ono: Half-a-Wind Show” had widely circulated in Europe about two years ago? Thierry Raspail: I took this decision for three main reasons. Contrary to past exhibitions about Yoko Ono, my desire here was to create a singular retrospective, which was not based on the chronology of her work, which did not separate her music from the rest of her work (by allowing visitors to listen with headphones or in enclosed spaces, for example), and which included works that allow for the maximum amount of interaction with visitors rather than necessarily focusing on “original” works. With Jon Hendricks, co-curator of the exhibition and a man who has worked with Yoko Ono for 25 years, we tried to provide a unique vision and offer an exhibition that does not focus on dates, with music everywhere, alongside the works. JI: You used quotation marks to designate Yoko Ono’s “original” works, what is her approach to “originality?” TR: From her beginnings, with “instructions” such as Painting for the Wind, Shadow Painting, Trampled Painting, Yoko Ono has claimed the idea that there is no such thing as an original work. With instructions that allow anyone to create a work anywhere, anytime, the work becomes a starting point and is thus never “original.” Even if a work appeared for the first time on a specific date, her “instructions” serve as a kind of sheet music that can be played differently according to the context and the sense that one wants to give to the work. The same “instructions” can thus allow for a performance, a video, even music! This is why Yoko Ono does not declare a fundamental difference between “new” works and those that she may have done in the 1960s. This is why Grapefruit (1964), a collection in which Yoko brought together all of the instructions that she had invented beginning in 1955, constitutes a sort of retrospective of her work. Perhaps the same way she does not seek to earn money from her work or
conserve many of her pieces, Yoko Ono’s work goes against the market tendency to create an original work at any price. JI: And so it is this sense of “play” that you have tried to reveal in this retrospective? TR: Exactly, in this retrospective, I didn’t want to attach any strings to the works by contenting myself to tell the story to the visitors; we wanted to leave the public free to interact or not with the works, as was the case at the time. With this in mind, we did not want to exhibit at all costs the “original” work in the chronological sense. This is the case with Painting to Hammer a Nail (1961-1966), a mythic work in front of which Yoko Ono met John lennon in 1966 at the Indica Gallery in London, and which will be exhibited in Lyon. If at the time, the public was asked to hammer a nail on a small white support, the “updated” version by Yoko Ono proposes an entirely different relationship to the work. In a space that resembles a boardroom of an international company, the public will be invited to hammer nails into an oblong table. Other such works will be updated as well, remaining the same, yet different. JI: What makes Yoko Ono a formidable artist in your opinion? TR: Although Yoko Ono never wanted to be associated with a group (except her rock band!), she certainly contributed to the foundation of many. A protean artist, her work can be associated with the birth of Fluxus, Conceptual Art, but also to performance or video art that she was already practicing in 1964. Her pronounced gestures were clearly echoed. One only has to think of, for example, Cut Piece (1964-1965), a performance in which Yoko Ono sat on stage in the traditional posture of Japanese women, inviting viewers to take a pair of scissors to cut her clothes away until she was completely nude. Thus, between 1955 and 1962 with her instructions, concerts and performances, she revolutionized the question of art. With her, there can only be variations, no originals, as the interpretation that one makes of her work is fleeting and she doesn’t even need a museum because one can
follow her instruction where and when one wants. With modesty and modernity, she brings up themes that are still highly relevant. JI: Why was Yoko Ono considered a minor artist for so long? TR: Even though Yoko Ono was respected among artists and within her milieu of the time, if we have overlooked her work through all these years, it is certainly, and firstly, because of her relationship with John Lennon. Passing as a muse that also coincided with the collapse of the Beatles, Yoko Ono has been somewhat demonized. She has also been a bit ridiculed, especially for her Bed-in for Peace, these two events where, lying in a bed and dressed in white, the star couple sought to promote peace in the world. Then during the 1970s to 80s, she was on stage with Lennon and her work as a visual artist was put on hold. She created music, but erudite and improvised, more eastern than western, which was not really taken seriously by the rock scene at the time. Finally, she is a woman moreover a Japanese woman and a woman who has never sought to assert anything. All these factors have contributed to the deterioration of her image and it took time for institutions to realize that Yoko Ono was a great artist. It has only been since the early 2000s that we started to look back at the 1960s and realized what we had missed. JI: “Yes” and “Imagine” are Yoko Ono’s two ideals and watchwords, what is meant by that? TR: Indeed, these two words are fundamental to understanding Yoko Ono’s work. Unlike most works of the twentieth century which were built on being “against” something (technique, composition, color, ...), Yoko Ono tried to be “for” something. Because, for Yoko Ono, if we want to build something, it will not be “against” but “with” or “for” something that will allow us to “imagine.” In this somewhat utopian vision, as soon as one says “yes,” it only remains to be imagined. This is why there is a real play between these to words. This accompanies John Lenon’s slogan, “Peace is possible,” that may sound naive, but it is something that is always pertinent.
you cannot buy with money
FROM LEFT: MEMET GÜRELİ, SİBEL ÖZDOĞAN, GÜRAY OSKAY, CELINE FEYZİOĞLU, EZGİ ARIDURU VE BUKET GÜRELİ
Değiş Tokuş (Exchange) Exibition team that I met last year -Celine Feyzioglu, Sibel Özdoğan and Güray Oskay, along with homeowner Memet and Buket Güreliat Değiş Tokuş’s usual space Adasanat’s strategic balcony looking over the two sides of İstiklal Avenue in Galatasaray, were in preparation of their third exhibition. The first of these exchange exhibitions where 40 artists are selling 40 artworks in exchange for offers other than money, was organized in November 2011, and the second in April 2013. The exhibition will take place at Adasanat for three days; only this year two additional works will be created on the spot on Saturday. Words Ezgi Arıduru Photography Özgür Can Akbaş
The space is Adasanat as usual: “The space was our first consideration. Since we wanted money to get out of the way, we eliminated galleries. It didn’t sound too cute to go and talk to a space whose job description is to sell an artwork in exchange for money, and getting a commission out of it, and make a deal with them on a project where money is not valid”, say Sibel, Celine, and Güray. Memet and Buket Güreli, shared their convenient space as well as their exhibition experience, as an artist studio training young artists. When Güray comes in to share his idea of exhibition, they are affected, but Buket does not come around so easily: “I’ve seen people setting up their exhibition in enthusiasm, move on, but then there never is an end. We are always the ones to have to clear up; I had had my share of the lesson. That’s why I told Güray the first time he came in: Come, if you will clean up and leave on time.” “I was very surprised at this remark” says Güray. “Why would someone not pick up his exhibited works, I asked, but then I’ve seen why at the end of the first exhibition. We still have packaged works from the 2011 exhibition.” “Sales of art where money is not valid” is not a brand new idea. “It is natural for artists, close friends to exchange their works” explains Memet Güreli. It is also not uncommon to see a work being exchanged for a service. Celine gives examples from Brussels she had lived for a while. “It was between a festival, and an exhibition called Truc Troc. It is a much bigger exhibition; loads of activities within, bars set up… But the main idea remains the same. The artist receives offers for his/her work, and then the s/he decides which one to sell to. I was asking myself why something similar could not have been done in Turkey. I told the story when the three of us were chatting, and asked why not try and do it here? I usually talk, and the people around me either catch
me, or skip by. Güray and Sibel caught me. It started thanks to their energy. I brought the idea; and when they brought the energy, they inspired me. That’s how we started to work and things evolved.” “We did something very amateur though, and hurried up to do the first one the month following our decision. In a week’s time, we knew it was impossible to do it in one month. Then there professional deformation was involved; whatever we do we need to do well by. We executed the first exhibition thanks to various sponsors, without spending a dime; we received very positive feedback exceeding our expectations. We had decided to do the second one while working on the first. On the first meeting we decided never to make this exhibition bigger, but to boost the quality.” Here Güray emphasizes that he means the quality of the organization and not of the works exhibited. Memet Güreli sounds satisfied with the quality of the works: “Exhibitions such as Değiş Tokuş provide an alternative to market relationships, and allow us to directly get in contact with the work of art. I was worried at first when they came with the offer; I was afraid it would be like a bazaar. We wanted that there would be a standard for the quality of the works; I also proposed them names. Established artists also gave
their works. Other artists like myself, wanted to support these collective efforts in an old fashioned way, against the impositions of the market. The survival chance of the independent artist is less and less every other day. For the artist to survive, s/he needs to make an earning, but it is also necessary that his/her work be seen, and appreciated. On the other hand, the person buying a piece with exchange today, will probably buy a work when s/he will have more money in the pocket, and will hopefully be part of this loop.” I highlight this statement from their info: “It is important to train successful artists. Yet, to us, it is as important to formulate an environment, and a mass that will embrace, appreciate and encourage them”. “This may not be our aim, but it must be somebody’s. If an artist is being raised, the mass that will embrace him/her, needs to be raised as well. Obviously, our power will not suffice in creating a consciousness in art in Turkey, but you throw a rock, then it creates a small wave. Even if we encourage one person to enter a gallery, it reaches its aim”, says Güray. Memet Güreli’s resolution is worth attention: “There are numerous galleries on İstiklal Avenue. Yapı Kredi’s gallery in Galatasaray is our neighbor. My observation over the years is that people are afraid to go in. Güray grumbles that following the opening event, there are only 150 people visiting Değiş Tokuş over the weekend; yet there aren’t that many people visiting Kazım Taşkent Gallery where big names are exhibited.” Sibel adds: “SALT completely uncovered its façade to be able to come over this problem. Even that didn’t work. Now, no one is going upstairs, due to lack of interest. People are scared. The fact that there is no money involved in Değiş Tokuş makes a difference. They think they will not be embarrassed if money is not involved.” ‘Did it really go to an offer as simple as that?’ ask people after a sold work. It reinforces the sense of accessibility. It prepares them for the next opportunity.” Says Memet and Celine adds “The main aim in Doğuş Tokuş is not to possess, it is to change perception. To own a work, to take it away is one part; the more important part is to get people acquainted with the process, and to have them get aware of the existence of other opportunities.” In a typical opening, the routine is there: You get in, take a glass of wine, say hi to people you know. You quickly take a glance at the works exhibited, finish your wine, and leave. The aim of the opening is to socialize, it is not to get acquainted with the works. “People coming to our exhibition, do not
leave; they stay on average an hour and a half inside. The time expands with the Post-its that the work has gathered” says Güray. The comment of a visitor fairly describes Değiş Tokuş Exhibition: “What I like the most about the exhibition, is the time people spend in front of a work.
The viewer may not be directly setting up a relationship with the work in this time spent, but s/he could not avoid it even though s/he wanted to; reading the offers lets you spend more time with the work.” Viewers pass their time thinking ‘What can I offer?’ and reading other offers. They sometimes take their offer and put it on another work. If one is to make an offer, one needs to analyze the work itself, understand it, and evaluate it. I think about this considering Güray’s assessment; it seems unlikely to stay distant to the work while giving an offer. An unusual exhibition experience arises. The works are displayed in a certain order in the exhibition space; and then people come and transform it. “They complete the exhibition” adds Sibel. There is a process, an accumulation developed by the intervention of the viewer. There is a performative, and a physical contribution. I ask them whether they see the exhibition as a performance. “That’s not how we define it, but you’re right” says Güray. “Here is how Değiş Tokuş Exhibition is defined: Değiş Tokuş is a contemporary art exhibition. It is not bound by any artist profile, art technique, or theme. When you take away the feature of ‘money not being valid for purchase’, the selection becomes “a set of artworks”. The presence of those Post-its and the offer process make this an exhibition.” Information: In our next issue, you may find a compilation of the results of the 2016 edition of Değiş Tokuş Exhibition. www.degistokussergi.org
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FACE TO FACE
Optical physics Is the fact that a photographer is taking pictures of nature scenery intact of human intervention, enough for us to be convinced that s/he is trying to reach simplicity? Ground Glass, Ahmet Elhan’s latest exhibition at Gallery Zilberman, open until March 19th, presents us with this scenery. His purpose is to reach the simple. Yet, for Elhan, who researches the codes of photography in his previous series Places and Composed, the fact that the subject is nature, is not enough for the claim of simplicity. Elhan, who believes that our perception of photography cannot be separated from the text on top that shapes this perception, proves us, via a very unexpected means, ‘natural’ photographs, that what we believe to be simple is not that simple after all. Words Erman Ata Uncu
AHMET ELHAN, PHOTO: ELİF KAHVECİ
FACE TO FACE
“Visuality is everywhere. In an era where common belief is that text has lost its significance, and visuality is of utmost importance, I wanted to scratch along this subject. Here is my conclusion: text may have never been so dominant at any point in time. I think text has somehow hidden, withdrew itself. It manages visuality via visuals.”
FROM GROUND GLASS SERİES, COURTESY OF GALLERY ZİLBERMAN
Erman Ata Uncu: Can we talk about what motivation was helpful in manifesting your aim to go to the simplest form of photography? Is it a reaction to this era where we are bombarded with visuals from all around? Ahmet Elhan: It’s a way to describe. First, if we perceive ‘simplicity’ as focusing on black and white nature shots in one frame: I actually wanted to determine what this simplicity actually is by putting it in the center, without crashing the photographic image, or scattering it. Secondly, photographic images spread around through various means… They are all around us. We are not just viewers but also the takers of the picture. Therefore we look and we are being looked at. Visuality is everywhere. In an era where common belief is that text has lost its significance, and visuality is of utmost importance, I wanted to scratch along this subject. Here is my conclusion: text may have never been so dominant at any point in time. I think text has somehow hidden, had withdrawn itself. It manages visuality via visuals. Looking at visuality, we always observe the diversification of the same texts, illustrations. We are in an era where the text on top is being interpreted. Yet the texts do not do these by themselves. Instead they use the visuals. We all keep duplicating the visual codes of these texts. At this point, Ground Glass was a proposition to step back, to ask and to observe what is going on. EAU: The mentioned codes, are they valid for all production related to photography? AE: What I mention is not just about art. Photographic visual, returned back to its initial purpose of production as if 150-years long discussions had not happened. Man is a perfect device to copy what his eyes see, and was re-approached as a medium to carry this copy. This confounding blindness really worries, and annoys me. The gains of all this time have suddenly been thrown in trash. Photographs lose their feature of being a photograph; they get photographic. Everything turns back to this optical physics. This is exactly the text that I have previously mentioned. Of course, I used a very rigorous language, which is not used nowadays. Today, it is softened, gelatinized, bow tied. Everything has been reduced to ‘focus on what is staged
right now, and believe in this’. Photography is one of the carriers of attitude. As a user of this carrier, I simply cannot surrender myself to it. EAU: What are the reasons why photography has turned into a flawless device copying what the human eye sees? AE: It is completely ideological. The lie of a system that says ‘System is a very bad thing. History is over, it is the end of great discourse’… that withdrew itself, but also concurrently self-propagated all over. This is more related to financial capital then production. This is very much dependent on the removal of the object from the middle, and the breakdown of the relationship between reason and consequence. In the mentioned system, you cannot find the real responsible without breaking the wheel. Optical physics is just like this. When you name the lenses that you put in front of that dark box ‘objective’, you assign a huge ideological meaning to it. So, I have to work with this dark box, and the objective in front of it, the glass behind, the plaque, the film, and the visuals recorded in the digital recorder. Accordingly, let’s get into the text on top of this visual shaping this visual. Let’s try to explain the camera that produces this visual, the photography industry that develops this device, the financial system that sustains the industry, and the ideological framework that preaches this system. This is only a step, and cannot survive alone. I am just trying to strikethrough this photographic visual, and create a discussion platform. EAU: How did this process reflect on the practice? AE: What I have just said is like a manifesto. Let’s now get to where it is at in its application… First, I tried to capture the ‘oh so beautiful’ pictures that nature photographers take. Because I did not want to strikethrough works that do not belong to me, and that I have referenced. To be able to create those pictures, and then be able to strikethrough, to deconstruct what I have built was to be able to decode a coding system that I had borrowed and utilized. Once I understood how that coding system was established, I could also figure out its weak points. Those strikes, the photographic image of the wooden frame around ground glass, and then the white around it serving as a frame,
and the presence of another frame in the end… I especially addressed framing. In the end, photography is a kind of framing as well. Second was the fact that my intervention had to not be a process against the stages of photographic visual production. I mean the purpose here is not to tear the picture up. The ground glass was involved in the camera and the photography production stage. As a principal, it was the surface where you preview the picture before you take the photo. The photographer constructs its composition by looking at that; decides whether or not to take the picture. The ground glass never shows a single moment. Everything elapses in front of it. The moment you remove it, and put the film in, you freeze time. If you want you can position yourself across the ground glass, and watch the life flowing in front of it for hours. EAU: Were the visual codes also the point of origin of your exhibition Composed? Yes, because I always fret myself over this. I was not trained for photography; I graduated from graphic design. I then did my masters in cinema theory. When I started taking film analysis classes, something happened to me when I read about deconstruction. I have already been taking pictures for six to seven years, and participating to exhibitions. If a film can be read by deconstructing it in such a way, so can photography, I said. We actually applied this process on a series of photographs with a professor of mine. I have been trying to understand these codes since 1982-83. What I do is somehow related to photography’s production stages, or the features of photographic visuals. I either get into the relationship between space and time or the relationship between printing, framing, and lens. I am trying not to do this in a didactic, teaching series of explanations. I also always try to find titles that can have multiple meanings for my series. This is valid for both Composed and Ground Glass. In Turkish, there isn’t a separate term for the ground glass used in the photography. The glass you put on your window, the glass in the camera, both are described with the same word; it is different in English. The ground glass is both what blurs the reality, and where the visual is formed. Therefore, it is also the surface that gives us a hint on what we need to work on.
FACE TO FACE
‘Pattern reveals the pattern’:
Dawood an interview with Shezad Dawood
Shezad Dawood’s new exhibition Why Depend on Space and Time at Galerist is the occasion of his first solo presentation in Turkey. Art Unlimited met up with the artist in the gallery’s Tepebaşı location to talk about the ‘patterns’— conceptual or otherwise—behind Dawood’s work. Words Gökcan Demirkazık
Gökcan Demirkazık: You obviously work in really different media, and there is always tension between the abstract and the figurative. Some artists formulate this conflict as a way of coming to terms with this high-flown modernism from the mid-century. Is it conscious? Shezad Dawood: Absolutely. If anything, I would argue that is one of the key among many edge lines I would like to walk—abstraction/figuration is very much there. This show takes that tension and re-articulates it. One of the key threads in this show was the tension between the digital and the analog. I am interested in all these sorts of binary constructions. I see them as false choices. Because, I think, this idea that one has to align with one camp or the other is really the
FACE TO FACE
SHEZAD DAVOOD, PHOTO: GİZEM KARAKAŞ
source of human ignorance. “Are you left or are you right?”, “Do you align yourself with God or the devil?”… It is much more realistic for a mature viewer to realize that both co-exist. GD: But they also co-exist in a really “outspoken” way. It is not like a cloud-shape that could be a cat or a squid. SD: Perhaps what we are both getting at is that it’s fluid. It exists on a spectrum. I am dubious about the extremes of that spectrum. Extreme abstraction still has— whether it is our human need, which needs to create a narrative where there is not one—an immediate unconscious response. In terms of trying to push through to new sets of knowledge, the terms abstraction/figuration are not concrete enough. What is more interesting is to question the space or the tension between them. GD: This reminds me a lot of a text that I recently read—Donna Haraway’s “The Cyborg Manifesto”… SD: Have you read Mackenzie Wark’s new book, Molecular Red? With that re-reading of Donna Haraway, he is trying to un-earth alternative methodologies from the past to re-understand the present. Interestingly, he starts with very Soviet/ Russian tropes, particularly Bogdanov, who, at the time, was kind of the alternative intellectual in Bolshevik circles. But he also talks about Kim Stanley Robinson, the author, and Donna Haraway as a moment in California, offering alternative methodologies that would perhaps be valuable to look at again in the present frame… Especially thinking about what’s happening with gender, climate, and migration. These things are not separate. Of course, they are distinct areas but particularly, migration and climate, for me, are intrinsically wedded in ways that we have not fully explored yet. And I will not get into that, as there is a whole set of articles I am preparing on that subject! GD: Maybe you can talk a little bit about the direction your work is taking, and how it is reflected in the textile works you are showing here at Galerist. SD: All the textiles I have used to date are predominantly from Pakistan from the 1970s, and there is a very particular narrative behind them. As much as I might be superficially addressing image-correspondence and a certain formal geometric palate, behind those surface juxtapositions, there is a narrative, which has a hidden geo-political dimension. In the ‘70s in Pakistan, there was a big textile boom—lots of textile factories [popped up] in the province of Sindh, where my family is from, and also in that province, you have a long-standing tradition of hand-weaving. These hand-weavers are fairly nomadic or peripatetic, and they started to build their huts around these new factories, and would incorporate off-cuts or leftovers from the factory into their hand stitching. So it is a very gentle subtle moment of symbiosis
between the hand and the machine that starts to take place. It’s very gentle, it’s not something that leaps out and goes “Cyborg!” in the more Hollywood sense. A lot of the initial energy behind this textile boom is south-south trade. It is the high point of the “Non-Aligned” movement, so you have got patterns coming into Karachi from Kyoto, Shanghai, Lagos, the Middle East, the Gulf… so, the first hybrid you have is between hand and machine, but then these patterns start to hybridize. They become, sort of, polyglot. For me, it is this key moment of cosmopolitanism that is a memory of my childhood. It was this moment, very briefly, when Pakistan was very outward-looking and cosmopolitan. These patterns started to morph. I like to think of these stories in my head, where maybe, a textile buyer from Lagos comes to Karachi, and looks at a pattern that’s intended for the Japanese market, and says: “Oh, can we have some of that? But can you saturate the colors more here and here…” At the beginning of the ‘70s, they are quite discrete. You can clearly tell a pattern, where it is from and where it is going, and then over the course of the decade, they start to mutate… just like us, humans… I think this situation reveals something really hopeful for humanity. Actually it is in these utopian moments that we reveal potential, accelerated potential, and then the larger reactionary polity cannot stand that, so it comes down really hard on that little moment of space, of cosmopolitanism. None of those utopias that I have quite consciously researched last very long. You know this textile utopia lasts roughly till the end of ‘70s. Because, ‘79, the Soviets invade Afghanistan; ’81, you have the military coup in Pakistan. And then, Pakistan falls very firmly into US influence, and literally all the textile exports are for North America and Western Europe as part of unspoken trade-and-aid deals. But, what happens is, that moment revealed through pattern is removed. I like this way that pattern reveals the pattern. There is something so perfectly precise about it. Interestingly, I am always cutting these different vintage pieces, and re-assembling them to make the ground for my paintings, but I have never before used these— these are the offcuts, so, pieces that end up on my studio floor. It’s funny, your whole ethics is about inclusion, but you are just excluding these fragments. “Mr. Fragment” is ignoring the fragments! It took my three-year-old daughter to teach me that I needed to update my process. Interestingly, one of the fragments of textiles, my three-year-old daughter would come to my studio, and take it home with her every time, and put it in her bedroom. I would go, “Oh what is this doing in her bedroom? Take it back…” She would take it back to her bedroom. It happened three times, and then I realized: “I am so stupid, she is just trying to tell me that this is what I need to be looking at!”
Nispetiye Mah. Aytar Cad. No: 24 Kat: 1-2-3 1.Levent - İstanbul / 0212 279 29 03 www.tepta.com - firstname.lastname@example.org
Exhibition as Interpretation:
Sarkis with Parajanov Sergei Parajanov – Sarkis Parajanian with his Armenian name - made his eponymous film Sayat Nova (The Colour of Pomegranates) paying tribute to the life and work of the 18th century troubadour (ashoug) and monk Sayat Nova, in 1969, in Soviet Armenia. A sumptuous, rhythmic assemblage of tableaux vivants composed of ritualistic gestures and folkloric objects, the film is an interpretation by Parajanov of the Caucasian, multi-lingual poet’s inner world, based on his poems. Banned by Soviet authorities at its release, it is celebrated as the filmmaker’s most thoroughgoing attempt at formal poetry in cinema. Words Aslı Seven Photography Laurent De Broca
Two years later in 1971 Sarkis, having since long left his natal Istanbul and settled in Paris, would create and exhibit his first piece camouflaged with carpets. This use of carpets and kilims as camouflage, holding in a protected resistance, originates in Sarkis’ early memories where these household items were used to cover windows at nightfall to prevent the electricity from showing outside to escape air raids. In the years to come, they would become a recurrent material in his installations, camouflaging resistance, radiating warmth and energy kept within. Sarkis with Parajanov exhibition at the Villa Empain – Fondation Boghossian opens with a circular scene of 8 monitors placed on the floor facing outwards from under a pile of carpets from Anatolia, Persia and the Caucasus1. 8 sequences from Sayat Nova selected by curator Erik Bullot are shown simultaneously on the screens. Interpreting ‘Sayat Nova’ (2015) doubles the film’s construction in tableaux and its temporal circularity. The sounds of different sequences join one another and greet the visitor with a symphony of different rhythms, human voices and various in1 There are a total of three video installations in the exhibition, Interpreting ‘Sayat Nova’ (2015), Mise en scene avec ‘le Portrait of Paradjanov’ (2015) and Froid au dos (1993), all of which have the monitors placed on the floor and coated with carpets and kilims borrowed from a Belgian gallery and collection of oriental carpets, N. Vrouyr from Anvers.
struments from the film: the clock-work rhythm of carpet-weaving, the joyful song of a flute, the sound of water pouring over the stones of the monastery overlap. We find carpets inside Parajanov’s tableaux as well: they become curtains delineating a scene, or markers of the passing of time with a metronomic movement at the background of another one. Sarkis’ circular installation of carpets and monitors embraces and embodies Parajanov’s filmic compositions in the artist’s own, distinct language, compositions which in turn stage the poet Sayat Nova’s mind’s life in ritualistic, dream-like forms. The shape of the installation – the circularity and the covering of the 8 monitors with carpets – becomes a reference to the set-up of caravanserails here, a motif dear to Parajanov, but also to the nomadic settings of tents and temporary ceremonial structures in ancient Caucasus and Anatolia. As such, it expresses the temporary nature of Sarkis and Parajanov’s presence in this art deco building and at the same time frames the exhibition as a timespace for hosting in which the visitor becomes a guest. From Sarkis’ interpretation of Parajanov to the latter’s animation of Sayat Nova’s oeuvre, a burning and breathing core materializes in reverberations and wraps the guest in an atmosphere of meditation and ritualistic offering. Interpreting ‘Sayat Nova’ stands at a central position within the exhibition and sheds light on the architectur-
al setting. On a vertical axis, it is right beneath the glass dome of the building overarching the entire 2nd floor mezzanine where, under the rays of light pouring in from the open sky, Parajanov’s costume made of carpet pieces for the film Ashig Kerib (1988) hangs from above, between two floors, like a sacred vest with magical powers to coat the entire setting. On a horizontal axis it opens the way to two additional installations. In the adjoining room, the Mise en scene with ‘the Portrait of Paradjanov’ (2015) is composed of two works, the portrait of Parajanov (2005-2009) clothed with a fabric coat and magnetic tapes of his films cascading down from its head stands behind Au commencement, Ryoan-ji (2000) playing in loop on a monitor on the floor2. It is as though the discreet light of the candle on the screen and the sound of Cage’s piece, preserved and carried by the kilim, could, at any moment, begin to animate this totem-like creature. From these two scenes that greet the visitor, all the way towards the garden, in a rectangular hall, 126 Ikones of Sarkis are displayed inside a long glass vitrine. As Sarkis points out in the fragments of
2 Portrait of Parajanov is the twin of a previous work by Sarkis, Les Maries (2004), which was produced during a residency in Armenia and installed at the Parajanov Museum during the exhibition “The Reflection and The Sublime”. In this first portrait of Parajanov, Sarkis had used fabrics he had found in the Museum, again with videotapes of Parajanov’s films.
an interview with Bullot published in the catalogue, the ground floor is conceived as the ‘stage’ where works come alive and enter in dialogue, whereas the first floor operates like a theatre backstage with works facing each other, waiting for their turn to move into action3. There, we find Parajanov’s props and collages alongside Sarkis’ costumes, films, vitrines and stained-glass works. The cold materials and parsimonious colors of the building stand in contrast to the warmth and wealth of sounds and visual motifs and textures in the exhibition. There is a sense a removal from the building’s architectural features that seem to float around the works without touching them. The building’s presence is repeatedly highlighted throughout the space and the texts accompanying the exhibition, but without ever penetrating Sarkis’ works and interpretations of Parajanov. This creates a strange disjunction, a putting of the building at a distance, which oddly ends up grounding the dialogue between the works and makes the building lose its solidity. When put in dialogue in this way, the works of these two distinct artists start to emphasize certain aspects in each other, a form of contagion occurs. The dramatic effect of Parajanov’s films does not reside in the narrative that is staged but
3 “Exhibitions are Interpretations. Sarkis Interview by Erik Bullot”, Sarkis with Parajanov, Sergi Katalogu, s. 14
rather within the image compositions themselves, by repetitions of forms and juxtaposition of different temporalities through the interplay of background and foreground. Sarkis’ interpretation, by sequencing the film, distills this dramatic power in Parajanov’s image compositions. At times the tableaux in Sayat Nova stage unlikely combinations between the elements, like water and stone or wind and paper. At others we see human figures who interact with objects, animals and plants as tools, symbols and products; crushing grapes with their feet, weaving carpets, exchanging rings or tirelessly digging the ground of a monastery. It is not so much in acting out a play but rather in accomplishing minimal, repetitive gestures and using diverse objects that the actors embody these relationships that constitute the core of living cultural production. The estrangement produced by the slow unfolding of these minimal gestures and the unfamiliar points of view on these scenes draw them close to the performative aspects in Sarkis’ Ikones. In Ikones, it is always the shape of the frame that determines the artist’s gesture which, in accordance with the object, actually works to defamiliarize it. Sarkis’ gestures that can be as minimal as a single watercolor fingerprint reinstate a distance within the object where a reflection on the fundamentals of our relationships with objects and their changing values in time and space occurs. What these gestures accomplish,
quite like the infinitesimal changes in rhythm or a slight movement of the eyes or hands of an actor do in Parajanov’s scenes is this defamiliarization. The words of literary critic Viktor Shklovsky, a friend and collaborator of Parajanov, come to mind: “by enstranging objects and complicating form, the device of art makes perception long and laborious”4. Among the 126 Ikones at display here there is IK. 141 4.3.2003 (a Paradjanov), a late 19th century colorful Alsatian stained glass frame where Sarkis printed a black and white photograph of Parajanov, and his red watercolour fingerprint right where the man’s heart should be. Key to understanding Sarkis’ relationship to objects is to approach them as repositories of memory. The moment an object loses its function or use value is the moment it becomes a cultural object, a collectible item that carries the memory of historical time. A similar transformation can be said about the works of an artist once they’re gone, once they are no longer here to interpret their own works. The objects Sarkis collects and displays in vitrines (two of
which are part of this exhibition); as well as the works of other artists, musicians, filmmakers he frequently interprets or creates in dialogue with, are treasures of memory, but they are also treasures of war, of a war to keep the memory alive, a war against the reduction of these objects into a purely speculative value. “A device is a weapon. A camera is a weapon. Writing is a weapon”, he wrote as early as 19765. If “art is a means of experiencing the process of creativity”, then this is precisely what Sarkis with Parajanov
4 Viktor Shklovsky, “Art as Device”, Theory of Prose, 1917, quoted in James Steffen, The Cinema of Parajanov, The University of Wisconsin Press, 2013, p.19.
5 Sarkis, “Blackout Leica 1913-1973’ Uzerine Alinmis Notlardan Parcalar. Grunewald, Berlin”, Doxa (2), Mayis 2006, Norgunk, Istanbul pp.16-20.
achieves6. Georgian folk-tales, journeys of Armenian troubadours blending the music, rhythm and visual motifs embedded deep in the memory of the peoples of the Caucasus are brought back to life again and again in Parajanov’s films and artworks. In conversation with Sarkis’ gestures and installations, the joys and lamentations of peoples and objects across time gain form and reach our eyes and ears in a multitude of shapes and sounds.
6 Viktor Shklovsky, Ibid.
FROM THE WORLD: LONDON
MOJE SABZ, 2011, TAXIDERMY, FIBERGLASS, JESMONITE BLOCK, CAR PAINT, (C) SOHEILA SOKHANVARI, COURTESY OF SAATCHI GALLERY, LONDON
Soheila Sokhanvari A Monographic Interview
Just a few steps from Sloane Square, London’s leading contemporary art museum Saatchi Gallery is celebrating its 30th anniversary with Champagne Life, an exhibition that brings together the works of 14 women artists from four corners of the world and adopts a sarcastic attitude as demonstrated by its title and content. On display until March 9th, the exhibition includes striking examples of today’s art and underlines the fact that, contrary to common belief, women artists do not pursue a luxurious lifestyle, sipping champagne night and day but instead withdraw into their shells, their studio, and work alone for hours on end. One of the most visited, most photographed halls of the exhibition that extends throughout three floors of the Saatchi Gallery is Gallery 3. Why? The answer is hidden in Hande Eagle’s interview with multidisciplinary artist Soheila Sokhanvari, born in Iran in 1969. Words Hande Eagle
Evolution through revolution Soheila Sokhanvari was just 10 years old when the Iranian Revolution in 1979 - a popular movement leading to the foundation of a sharia republic under the government of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, based on Islamic law, and Shi’a sect principles, following a constitutional monarchy under the leadership of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi - shook Iran like an earthquake of 9.5 magnitude. Today, while the subsequent effects of the Iranian Revolution brought to the silver screen via films like Persepolis (2007), Liberation (2009), and Argo (2012), are still felt in the Middle East, Sokhanvari produces works that balance humor and politics between the two pans of the scale. Her family sent Soheila Sokhanvari to England to
study, and “save herself ” at the age of 15. Due to the fact that her family believed art was a talent rather than a career, Sokhanvari studied Biochemistry and then worked as research assistant at Cambridge University. When I make mention of her life before she started studying art part-time in 2001 at the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, she says: “I was a biochemist. I was researching adult leukemia. I always felt I was in the wrong field. I felt that I always wanted to be an artist. My father was a designer. When they sent me to England, they paid for my education. They felt that if they were going to pay for my education then I had to do a degree where I was guaranteed a job afterwards. I cannot say that biochemistry was a personal choice. I was also under the pressure of my
Iranian identity; my family was of the mentality that an academician would have more opportunities in life. I think this mentality is still valid in the East. I studied art when I could make the decision and had the money. It takes a lot of guts to go and do art. Particularly when you have a job that brings you a regular income.” On the Teeterboard: The state vs. the people Upon completing her postgraduate diploma at the Chelsea Art and Design School in 2006, Sokhanvari pursued an MA in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College from 2009 to 2011. Her work, Moje Sabz (Green Movement; 2011) currently on display at the Champagne Life exhibition was her graduation piece at Goldsmiths College. Charles Saatchi, a collector who
FROM THE WORLD: LONDON
keeps his finger on the pulse of the contemporary art market, owner of Saatchi Gallery, and founding partner of Saatchi & Saatchi, purchased Moje Sabz from Soheila Sokhanvari (who made the work at her home studio, barely three meters away from her kitchen sink) and added it to his invaluable collection., I had seen the work composed of a stuffed antique horse, standing on top of a mass made of ‘jesmonite’ (a composite material made of resin), and painted with automobile paint in sabz, a peculiar tone of green also used in the decoration of East Indian pottery prior to our interview during my visit to the exhibition and observed how it was attracting a great deal of attention from aficionados of contemporary art. When I asked her about the thought behind her work the next day, Sokhanvari took a deep breath and began to tell me the story of the mysterious horse: “The horse was a found object. It was already taxidermied 25 years ago.. Then in 2010, and 2011, when I was doing my MA at Goldsmiths, there was an awful lot of events like the Arab Spring happening. There was quite a lot of uprising. My work is very much centered on the concept of trauma, and collective trauma told through the story of the individual. I was thinking of mulling the idea and Moje Sabz (literally translated as “Green Movement” – the Iranian Uprising of 2009 against the Ahmadinejad government). I was interested in creating an object that stood as an abstraction / a metaphor for something where I didn’t take a stance. At the time, I was reading Slavoj Žižek’s Violence (2008). In his book, Žižek compares revolution to a carnival. In a carnival, law of the land is suspended for one day. In a carnival you have the stress of a nation; the build-up of pressure for a nation is released during a carnival. He was underlining the fact that revolutions, just like carnivals, provided a collective relief through demonstration. He also says that in a carnival you also have someone who becomes a king of fools for a day. Very much like the revolution, that person who leads the revolution could end up being a king of fools if the revolution is not successful. So I was thinking about the concept of carnival and the concept of revolution. My object, this stuffed horse, has to kind of embody something that could come out of a carnival. The horse has a massive symbolism in art history. It comes from either cave paintings, the Trojan horse, a horse that is often painted with a king, a general or leader sitting on it. In that sense, the horse represents the power of the state, the power of the leader. On the other hand, when horses appear in paintings like those of John Constable, where they are pulling a cart or doing manual work, the horse can represent also the power of people. It symbolizes freedom and power. The blue part is something I sculpted and painted by hand in my studio. To some people it represents a horse that is stuck in a blue object and others see it as a horse that is bouncing on a space hopper. That again has two meanings. It can either be a free animal that is stuck or a free animal that is bouncing instead of galloping. Therefore, I don’t ever pin it down by directly explaining it. I feel that the trauma I’m talking about comes from the people towards the state and from the state towards the people. I think it’s a two-way trauma.” How to preserve it: Taxidermy or memory? “Can we just go back to how you found the horse?
People don’t usually ‘find’ antique taxidermied horses…” I say, chuckling. She laughs in return and replies: “I live in Cambridge, it’s very rural here. I found the horse being advertised online. The lady who owned the horse was living in the countryside. I wrote to her, and told her I would like to buy her horse. I was interviewed by her because she had several buyers. The horse belonged to the owner as a pet and they were brought up together. When the horse passed away she was so loved as a pet that the family paid for the horse to be taxidermied. I think, later on, they decided they did not want to pass it on. It wasn’t a horse that was killed for my art.” “You can’t escape war” Born in Shiraz, Iran’s culture capital situated in the south, Soheila Sokhanvari’s horse reminds me of the physical characteristics of the Caspian horse, still bred in the north of the country. I recall the Palmyra offensive that took place in May 2015. At the time I was following the events through newspaper articles about the Syrian Army’s and local archeology enthusiasts’ efforts to protect the historical monuments and structures in the ancient city of Palmyra against the terrorist attacks of ISIS. I remember that among the rescued works, there was a relief sculpture of a figure riding a horse. I ask Sokhanvari “In which ways do you think ‘terrorism’ as defined by politicians across the world changed the ways in which we look at art?” Sokhanvari replies: “I think today many works and exhibitions are created with this question in our heads. The last Venice Biennale had quite a lot of political art in it. There are moments that art, these days, must have a critical stance as well as a political position. I think that has become more extreme since the 1980s. It seems to me as if more and more art takes on a stance. I wouldn’t say that terrorism has changed it. I think violence has. Throughout art history, we witness the violence that men exercise on men, and his surroundings; in the works of artists such as Goya and Velázquez we observe references to the state of men. You can’t escape war.” “How about recent events like ISIS destroying the ancient city of Palmyra?” I ask to deepen our conversation. “That, to me, says so much about the importance of art and culture in our life. When a civilization is wiped away the only thing that remains is the art. When that happens, the one thing that everyone is concerned about is the loss. We mourn over that culture, that civilization. For me, that flagged up how important art is in our life and how people are not aware because it’s always been there. They are not so precious about it until they actually lose it. As an artist, when you make art you have to think about the longevity of it. I find such situations tragic” adds Sokhanvari. Intellectual migration As the citizens of two geographically and culturally close countries who live abroad, I want to draw the interview to a more sincere and mutual subject. “The current situation in Turkey is quite complicated. Many artists are torn between staying in the country and leaving. The artists who choose to stay are hopeful of the change they may be able to bring about and those who want to leave believe they couldn’t make a change even if they stayed. Do you ever feel that if you stayed in Iran you could have made a change?”
Sokhanvari is surprised; she hesitates, and then gathers her thoughts: “This is a really good question actually. Probably the best anyone has ever asked me. If I stayed in Iran would I have been an artist? That, I don’t know because I became an artist here. It was here that I was able to make that decision. My husband is English and he was supportive of me. If I stayed in Iran and I married an Iranian man and he told me ‘You are not going to do art’ that would have led to a divorce. I haven’t got that life so I can’t speculate how it would be. I understand what you are saying about artists wanting to stay in Turkey. You have to make work, but at the same time you have to exist and you have to be safe. It’s really tricky to answer. If I was in Iran and I had the opportunity to become an artist I would start and I would make art, yes.” Being an Eastern woman in Europe I tell her that I think Saatchi Gallery celebrating its th 30 anniversary with an exhibition consisting of the works of 14 women artists is a tribute to women from different occupations across the world. Soheila Sokhanvari also shares her views on the exhibition: “People ask me ‘why is it important to be part of an exhibition consisting solely of the works of women artists?’. The exhibition, does not just present a selection of works by women artists; it also celebrates the bringing together of work that strays away from gender. None of the women artists in the exhibition produce art from a feminist perspective. That is not to say feminist works couldn’t be exhibited. I’ll give you example; in an exhibition where I had this work (Moje Sabz) exhibited, one of the visitors congratulated my husband for his work. When my husband replied that it was not his but mine, they asked me “Did you have this made?” They thought as a woman artist, I could not have produced a work of this scale myself, or perhaps they just didn’t realize that my name is a female name in the East, and thought it was made by a man. I have been judged as an Iranian woman all my life. That is exactly why the exhibition is very significant, because it asserts the fact that women can ambitiously and competently produce great works that exceed expectations.” The artistic relationship between Iran and Turkey With sanctions against Iran lifted in January 2016 the country will go through a substantial economic growth in the following years which will undoubtedly have a parallel effect on Iran’s art market. As our interview draws to a close, Sokhanvari tells me she will be participating in the 2016 Culture of Peace Biennale of Tehran, which will be sponsored by UNESCO for the second time in May. When I ask her whether she will be participating in the 2017 Istanbul Biennial, she informs me that the Culture of Peace Biennale will be visiting Istanbul from June to August. A week after my interview with Soheila Sokhanvari, during a phone conversation with Majid Abbasi-Farahani, the Director of the Culture of Peace Biennale, I found out that the Biennale management had an agreement with an Istanbul-based museum (I’d rather not say which one) to host it but that the museum dropped it at short-notice. I can only assume that we will witness many more unexpected developments, such as Champagne Life, on the axis of all that we think we know.
FOREWORDS FOR UNMADE EXHIBITIONS 1
Heart of Darkness Words Murat Alat
“If all the paths that one encounters are ‘possible’, that person is now lost.”
He got on the train when I was asleep. He is tall, thin. A İsmet Özel, Waldo Why Are You Not Here bushy moustache, a flat cap. He was in prison, now on leave. When the gendarmerie was checking papers, he showed them his permission slip, that’s when I heard. He left for Konya, but his wife and child are in Sancak. He is now going to see them. He ran into a friend in the corridor. They sat across from me and started talking. Amidst the grumbles of the train, I caught bits and pieces. It seemed that they A hesitation, a moment of indecision in front of the white knew each other from prison. sheet of paper. What was beautiful? What was the truth? What was real? All of these things used to be one and the same, now He asked for advice, he said what? Could you reach the beautiful without doing what was something like “can someone’s right? How was he going to find reality? The images in his mind were becoming intertwined with the objects across from him, mind be their own enemy? tainted, scrambled, transforming, flowing away rapidly. It was meaningless to try to stop this flow. He had learned this over My own mind is my enemy.” time, but letting go to become one with it, to mix with it or to to go beyond it was not getting him anywhere. These should He made his friend read this try not be the only choices he had in his hands. He stopped, he calmed down. He concentrated, drew a very thin line on the letter he brought out of his sheet of paper with a brush. With great sagacity, he fit all of pocket. They found his wife at the paint that wanted to flow away on this line-like stain and took this line, remaining, reduced from all the images he the local tavern. He needed to he put on paper and transformed it into a scar. He thus initiated a journey on the desolate sheet of paper. wipe clean his honor.
Black Water Record - Black Fog, Watercolour on canvas, 70cm, 2014
FOREWORDS FOR UNMADE EXHIBITIONS 1; AHMET DOĞU İPEK
The earth and the sky are snow—I’m looking onto the flat land. The horizon line has disappeared, there is no path nor a trace. There is a man on a horse down there in the snow, a storm between us. I can’t see clearly, but I have premonition that this must be him. He is whipping his horse, he is tearing through the snow, going towards his village. The horse sinks into the snow with every step, the trace he leaves behind immediately disappears. The horse seems to be unable to go further. He gets off his horse, he starts dragging the horse, but it’s not possible, the horse collapses on the snow. He lets go of the rein, he pushes forward. I yell after him, my voice is swallowed There was not a village to arrive at, nor a city, nor a lover. Just a line, by the howls of the coyotes. short but strong, barely discernible in the middle of the void, without It’s white everywhere. He a clear destination. A line right next to it. As a comrade. Lines that are parallel to each other or that intersect slowly adorn the sheet of paper. moves forward in the snow stains that resemble nothing but themselves. Along with the lilike a black stain. The wind is Modest nes, he was becoming simpler. His arrogance was rasped, his questions blowing in my face, I can’t see were becoming meaningless. His anxieties were reduced, he was more or less certain about what he needed to do. Then he made another line anything. A gunshot! I open and then another. Suddenly, the lines started to reproduce, dictating my eyes, he is standing by his over his wrist, his desires, his mind. Innocent lines came together, taover the voids between them, covering the whole sheet of paper, horse. The red from the horse’s king pervading everything with black. He did not expect this. He started to feel suffocated—on the one hand, he was being powerful, on the other, head slashes through the he was scared. The power to create had intoxicated him, but he could distance between us. I smell see that he was rapidly moving towards darkness. He was not ready for this. blood.
Second Harvest VI, Graphite on paper, 75 x 150 cm, 2015
FOREWORDS FOR UNMADE EXHIBITIONS 1; AHMET DOĞU İPEK
Buried, Modelled wooden flooring, from “VIVO” exhibition in Kasa Gallery with Erinç Seymen and Kerem Ozan Bayraktar
FOREWORDS FOR UNMADE EXHIBITIONS 1; AHMET DOĞU İPEK
Black Water Record - Hole, Watercolour on canvas, 130x130cm, 2015
I’m lost. I’ve been going round and round on a white desert for hours. The storm has lifted, the air is clear, but I still can’t find the path. The snow has swallowed me, I’m confused about what’s in front of me and what’s behind me. The consecutive screams are beginning to tear through the white sky. Seyid! Seyid! I ran to go over the hill in front of me, i rolled down to the flatland. They are there. Three black dots in the snow. Two are in the front, one behind. It’s him again. I recognized him from his stature. It must be his kid next to him, behind him must be his wife. The woman is screaming, the kid is screaming. Seyid keeps walking. The screams echo off of the mountains, filling the void. He forced himself to withdraw—there was a void between him Seyid suddenly stops and walks and the sheet of paper. He took a distance and looked again. Lines taken over the sheet of paper. All he had drawn was a stain. back to his wife. I’m breathless, had He stopped. He suddenly realized how essential the void that he created until then was. He shouldn’t be scared of disappearing. In I can’t scream. The cold chokes order to generate the black, he needed the white. He needed to conup my voice. Seyid takes his verge the two without surrendering to either. He tried to balance out his arrogance that was trying to take over with modesty. He wife on his back and starts to down his sheet of paper, he put up a new one and started over walk again. The snow is erected took again. He was standing away from the sheet of paper in order not to disappear within his creation. Calmly a black line, a white void. between us like a wall. I lost were being placed right after each other like the branches sight of them, I’m in the middle Lines of a tree trying to reach the sun, forming small voids. Lines and voids were reproducing each other, an order was slowly emerging. of the void without direction. not to be seized, he was tearing himself from the painThen another cry: Zine!! Zine! Intingorder frequently, smoking a cigarette, going outside, walking a little bit and then continuing again. The determination of the lines and Zine, wake up! I understand, voids’ absolute borders on the sheet of paper took days. When it the snow has wiped away the was done, there was an unplanned, undesigned structure that had black stain on Seyid’s forehead. emerged by itself.
Construction Regime XII, Watercolor on Paper, 90x100cm, 2015
YAPILMAMIŞ SERGİLERE ÖNSÖZLER-1; AHMET DOĞU İPEK
Axis Mundi, SITE SPECIFIC INSTALLATION WITH COLLABORATION WITH Nevzat Sayın 2014, PHOTOGRAPHY Cemal Emden.
FOREWORDS FOR UNMADE EXHIBITIONS 1; AHMET DOĞU İPEK
Table, carved beech tree, 2015, 47x108x65cm
When I last saw him, I had just arrived at the town; it was night, pitch dark. It was hard to discern him in the dark. On his back was the dead body of his wife—he was standing on the corner of the street, unsure where to go from here. He placed his load on the ground, he crouched, covering his face with his hands—he became a ball. He didn’t care about how many times he’d need to start over to Curious people surrounded put up this fight. The moment he’d need to stop were going to be dictated by lines. He drew over and over again. Every time, he him all of a sudden. Screams, was going on a new journey, filling him with life. When he drew running around. He didn’t the last line and brought down the last sheet of paper, he knew he flinch, he just styed there—he was done. He was now ready. He spread out a new sheet of white and he made a small round black stain with his brush. A vanished by becoming smaller, paper black stain that would grow. He was going to look straight into disappearing into the darkness. the heart of darkness.
“This text was inspired by the works by Ahmet Doğu İpek and The Road by Yılmaz Güney (1982)”
İdİl İlkİn, ‘Blue Moyo’, 2016, Diasec mounteD on chromogenic print, 120x90cm
iDiL iLKiN crystagram
04.03 - 02.04.2016
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Victor Enrich Funhouse mirrors Words Müjde Bilgütay
And if you are a little bit familiar with literature or theater, you may feel that this questioning sounds somewhat Brechtian: “The self-determination of the buildings manifested in the uniqueness of its combination of proportions, materials and functions behaves as the starting point of an investigative path towards the discovery of the forgotten soul of the city, which confronts consciousness and unconsciousness for the sake of finding the abnormal within the normal, the unusual around the usual, the hated among the beloved.” In other words, by distorting familiar forms woven into the constantly changing texture of the city, Enrich alienates us from the spaces we live in. This way he recalls those buildings we pass by every day without really seeing, the buildings of which the existence and connotations buried deep in our unconscious to the conscious plane, opening them to questioning. Wouldn’t it be great to bring him to Istanbul and unleash him in Ataşehir for instance... Describing himself as a photographer rather than an architect Enrich says, “Most architects respect the law ‘form follows function’. My buildings definitely don’t have an architectonic function. But they do have other functions.” That function manifests in the form of subtle cultural criticism shrouded in light, cunning humor. Take the top floors of the Orchid Hotel in Tel Aviv for instance. They burst out to the sky in an arms race to have the best view. Yet on a more visual plane you think they look like French fries. Take a closer look and a McDonalds sign winks
at you at the hotel entrance… If you go through the door that sign opens, countless connotations from lives get stuck in a fast-food culture to unplanned cities randomly built by economic interests open new thought channels for you. If architecture is a form of representation of the prevalent culture, then Enrich’s works are like a hall of mirrors in an amusement park… “The good thing about culture is that it manifests in many forms, since culture is the footprint of human interaction and people enjoy thousands or even millions of different ways of interaction” he explains in his mail, “So, as long as my work continues to let some people interact, then it should be inscribed as well as a form of culture. However, culture is something finite, thus there will always be a constant balancing and counter balancing among all forms of culture.” Then he adds: “I think that we’re facing a period of time in which architecture in general will suffer because it’s already a few years that it has been loosing its sculptural side, since today most buildings are made by engineers, so it has become more technical. The only place that remains untouched and exclusively kept for architects is housing, while in the past that exclusivity was broader. The loss of this sculptural side may open a window to those forms of culture that exploit the artistic side of architecture instead of just its functionality.” Creating impossible buildings Victor Enrich wanted to be an architect since he was a kid. However he realized “what it means to be an architect” a little bit too late, when he
If architecture is a form of representation of the prevalent culture, then Victor Enrich’s works are like a hall of mirrors in an amusement park… “Once I’ve got the building in my hands, I can start playing with it” says Catalan artist Victor Enrich. He photographs buildings and twists, turns, and bends them to create new, surreal, even questioning cityscapes.
91 Defense 2000 Tel Aviv, 2010, City Portraits 2. “The First Opera Tower is by the sea, next to my home. The building is a gun pointing eastbound (where ‘evil’ comes from...)”
PORTFOLIO NHDK 58 NHDK, München 2013, NHDK Series. Victor Enrich’s NHDK Series is comprised of 88 digital manipulations of the Detscher Kaiser Hotel in Munich.
93 NHDK 79 NHDK, München 2013, NHDK Series. Victor Enrich’s NHDK Series is comprised of 88 digital manipulations of the Detscher Kaiser Hotel in Munich.
was studying architecture. “I found that all my boredom and hatred to architecture was in fact boredom and hatred to working in commercial projects” he says in an interview with Blissmag in last January. He suddenly found himself working professionally in 3D architectural illustration, since the way he presented his projects was highly appreciated by his professors who hired him for their own presentations. This went on over a decade successfully between 1997 and 2007 however it too became routine and boring at one point, to the extent that he began hating making 3D architectural illustrations. In a later article he published in his Bored Panda (an online platform for artists) page he says that he closed his business and set out for unplanned journeys with the little money he saved. It was then he realized that he did not hate neither architecture nor making 3D illustrations, on the contrary he loved them, but he did not want to work for a client anymore. So he took a leap of faith, set aside all future worries and did what his heart told him to do. And what his heart told him is pretty clear as the title of the article is “After Closing My Business I Can Finally Create Impossible Buildings without Clients Limiting My Imagination.” Enrich begins with taking photos of actual buildings. Then he spends weeks to digitally edit every shot. His aim is to get as realistic as he can and since he uses building blocks of the real world his buildings come off as if they were real or almost possible. Can this “augmented reality” be based on the fact that Victor Enrich has been thinking about issues related to space since he was a kid? “When I was kid, I was a bit different from the rest of kids. Instead of playing with them on the street, which I of course did but not too much, I mostly spent my free time in my room at home dealing with spatial matters” he says, “My first interaction with space was some self-managed scaled car races. I had a large collection of these little cars, all same scale, of course. I always made it possible to make my favorite one win. Corridors and free spaces between furniture became my first streets.” Later on, by the age of 10, he obsessed with scaled maps. He spent most of his savings in buying A2 sectors of the 1:50000 map of Catalonia (about 30,000 sq km), which means 600 sq meters in maps. Don’t eventry to estimate exactly how many A4 sectors he bought… “With time, this passion for maps ended up with the creation of my own maps, in a smaller scale, 1:5000 mostly, and these maps where some sort of repository of all the things that I was learning at school at that time. For instance, I was naming the streets of some neighborhood with the names of some Spanish writers” he continues. His first maps were rather simple, but as he learned how to make technical drawings properly he began to add them more details, including sidewalks with variable widths, traffic separators, topographic profiles and even bus lines, underground lines and so on. “Each new imaginary city began with a key map, 1:50000, that included major streets and other big structures such as harbors, airports etc. Afterwards I defined a way how to slice the city in sectors and then I developed each sector in A4 sheets of paper that had to perfectly fit with their neighboring ones. Some of these maps could be as big as our living room. I literally lived inside those maps.” Victor Enrich’s works act like funhouse mirrors reflecting from an architectural and urban perspective the prevalent culture in which economy is the main determinant, and present us an alternative map of our cultural geography. Have fun losing yourself in the streets of his maps that lead to countless connotations… Enrich opened a solo exhibition at Madrid’s Sordo Gallery this February. To see more of his works please visit www.victorenrich.com
“Most comments that I get from architects are positive, mainly because I think that most of those who hate my work prefer to keep their mouth shut.”
95 Deportation 2000 Deportation, Tel Aviv 2011, City Portraits 2. Unfinished picture that what I was making when I got deported by the Ministry of Interior due to have become a public figure in TLV. Their argument is that i was not alloed to do art in TLV porting a Tourist Visa. The buildings are the Aizrieli Center Mall and Office Complex taken (that is funny) at the entrance of the Ministry of Interior Headquarters. The pic tries to empty the interior as, probably, nothing what happens in there is really important to me.
PORTFOLIO Manuela is getting... Manuela is getting late, München 2012, City Portraits 3. “My German private teacher is a very serious and organized person... One day she got late...something as unexpected as finding a building upside down! The picture is taken from the München born Sculpture Artsit Christian Engelmann’s living room’s window, while I stayed after my arrival to this wonderful city were I’m living now.”
97 NHDK 59 NHDK, München 2013, NHDK Series. Victor Enrich’s NHDK Series is comprised of 88 digital manipulations of the Detscher Kaiser Hotel in Munich.
12 Ugly Ducks 12 Ugly Ducks, München 2012, City Portraits 3. “A rational-poor-styled building from the 60s surrounded by 2 prominent neobaroque aristocraitc buildings. However, the aristocratic ones have lots of things to hide... Thanks good that the ugly duck shew us. 12 goes for the number of appartments located in this building.”
PORTFOLIO Medusa 2000 Medusa, Tel Aviv 2011, City Portraits 2. â€œSecond picture of the Orchid Hotel. Each balcony tries to get a better view towards the sea as the building is placed 90 degrees to it... bad bad bad.â€?
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Sight, Sound and Time in The Clock and Winter Sleep
In the magical darkness of a cinema theatre, as many thinkers, is a 196-minute long example of how conspectators, we become subjects under the rule of imtemporary cinema rivals the anti-illusionistic tricks by ages that are projected on the silver screen. During a modernist films from the latter half of the 20th Century. Reflexivity, as opposed to what we see in Marclay’s sarcastic time that is limited by the film’s timeline whatever installation, is a matter of degree in Ceylan’s masterpiece. transpires on the screen becomes the substitute of Ceylan’s film does not stay in the same low-key frequency the world itself. We are invited to submerge within level for the sake of being purely anti-illusionistic all along the story for the screen duration of a film. By the its narrative timeline. However, when it starts to reflect on economical use of time in their montage, the films time and evidently, on its own form and content, it haunts exhibit a substitute for the world. The boundaries of its spectators by presenting the heavy presence of fleeting our vision are reduced to the ones that the frames Words Alaz Şen time. Ceylan’s film reminds us that cinema is the subtle art border. The world that we are able to view becomes of time. Laura Mulvey, the film scholar whose work empharestricted to whatever the film presents. We reach a sizes not only feminist film theory but also questions the material existence of film as point of suspended existence by means of the theatrical immersion techniques – the a medium, conceptualizes the narrative in cinema as something alive, moving formagical spectacle by the several elements of filmmaking. Sound and editing are two ward, in constant action in her book titled Death 24x a Second: Stillness and Moving of these elements in filmmaking that paves our way into the cinematic dimension. Image. Although she creates the analogy through freeze frames, the relation between Editing, a process of putting framed shots in the order of viewing, also involves work life and screen action is also inherent in her work. The spectatorial gaze or, our ability that is known by filmmakers as sound editing. These two processes are essential to to follow the moving images depends highly on the action on screen. Ceylan’s Winter catch the viewers’ attention and consequently, to offer them an entry into the film’s Sleep however, presents itself as a film in which inaction sets the general tone. The film universe. The mainstream narrative cinema is dominated by the use of such processes. draws attention to an unconventional utilization of narration devices while it reveals The utilization of such devices, however, extend beyond fiction and into works that its plot slowly, a story that revolves around a hotel-owning family in the region of claim to depict reality as it is. Films, in themselves and in their time frames, illustrate Cappadoccia – a region known by its cave-like fairy chimneys. The minimalist atmothis alternate world that is created by these cinematic devices - a world which we, the sphere that is set during the depths of winter in the middle of Anatolia is accompaspectators accept as a representation of the real world that we live in. During a film nied by the low-tempo structure between its cuts. The title of this particular film refers session, the passed time in a theatre may feel lighter or heavier than our usual percepto a season of retreat, a time of reflection. In Winter Sleep, slowness becomes the film, tion of time. The suspension of disbelief in a theatre refers to the phenomenon of our as it also characterizes the dialogue. The film does not hurry the spectator by abrupt ability to believe in the world that is presented by the film during this temporary temporal motion, just as nature does not rush its inhabitants in the depths of winter. window. It is this very suspension of our disbelief in the presented images of a filmic The dialogue flows as slow as the snows fall outside the main characters’ house. The reality that makes our internal clocks tick according to the rhythm of the filmic time. state of things between characters, their inability to communicate, their melancholic Mary Ann Doane, in her book The Emergence of Cinematic Time, asserts that “The tiptoeing, all fuse into an excellent epitome of current day Turkey. Moreover, Winter cinema presents us with a simulacrum of time”. A simulacrum of time that represents Sleep builds its plot towards no cathartic ends or solutions of a major goal which the another’s time from another’s point of view, laid out in front of our bare eyes, ready characters live out their screen durations for. Therefore, it does not depend on motifor us to submerge ourselves in it. Time, an abstract concept that is defined and dividvating the spectators into a story of action, but rather it lures them into a laid-back ed for functional use by the modern humans, is often represented by the ticking noisstory that reflects, that takes its time. Through editing its narrative into an otherwise es a clock makes as its hands rotate. The representation of time in a film is, in fact, slower timeline full of long shots or long conversation sequences, the film exposes no similar to the reproduction of time that is made by the ticks of a mechanical watch. signs of an anti-illusionistic tendency like the jump-cuts of Jean-Luc Godard, the This abstract concept is recreated by both devices which have their internal mechamaster of anti-illusionistic cinema of the French New Wave. Yet, Ceylan’s film creates nisms of reproducing time towards different causes. A film, instead of measuring time subtler references to the film’s material existence. The heavyweight that is the realizalike a clock, has the luxury of projecting its own spatiotemporal setting. Films create tion of how far the characters in Winter Sleep have become towards each other is pretheir own universes, therefore their own alternate time. As they are being watched by sented in precise simultaneity with the subtle assertion of passing time in a dialogue us, the way we relate to time starts to change. We can hardly pinpoint ourselves in the scene from Winter Sleep. In this scene, after Nihal makes Aydın leave her with her sense of actual time when we are immersed in a film’s universe - unless the film in case guests whom she organizes a charity with, Aydın comes back to Nihal’s study. Despite is one that reflects on time by deliberately exposing its construction. One such brilAydın’s intentions to discuss the state of their relationship, they get stuck discussing liant piece of work is Christian Marclay’s world-traveler video installation, or his galhow to manage the charity that she runs. They take as long as the scene to sublimate lery film, The Clock (2010). Marclay’s work, besides its function as a clock that can tell their attention towards their relationship in this heavily charged scene. The electric in the spectators their local time, utilizes sound editing with such brilliance to remind the air is supported by the sound of unseen clocks during their exchange. The tickhow such a reflexive work of art could be so attention-binding for its spectators. The tocks of these clocks do not wake the characters. The spectator, however, has a hard nostalgia involved in watching a supercut of clips from the history of films becomes a time finding the snooze button during this scene. Temporal consciousness arises as driving force of the pleasure of watching a film that draws on the materiality of time. the tension peaks in the story. The narrative refers heavily to Nihal and Aydın’s past, However, our aggressive thirst for the nostalgically charged content that The Clock how they have even been able to stay together is questioned. Passage of time is indeed presents is not the only reason behind how it can grab our attention so easily. Sound being questioned here, for how imperceptible it is. Time, an abstraction, is being alis the device that glues together the fragmentation created by editing, a device that luded by the sound of those offscreen clocks. Perhaps unseen, yet sharply recognized Marclay utilizes in beautiful precision. The soundtrack of his installation film is editby their sound, these clocks terrorize the scene for the spectators. This tension adds ed seamlessly so that the film’s cuts become nearly transparent, especially the ones to the sermonizing tone of Winter Sleep, a tone also perpetuated by its characters. which put emphasis on the transition of time. The economy of spectatorial pleasure Despite being categorized by industrial terms as a mainstream work of cinema, the and uneasiness in the film is managed by the spectacle of time. Time, a resource that film puts heavy emphasis on the anti-illusionism ideals. This ideal is in the order that flows into an abyss, becomes a fusion of a character that is both a protagonist and an it causes the spectatorial digestion for the film to be as hard as the allegories it presantagonist in the 24-hour long film. Climactic moments in The Clock are the ones that ents. Marclay’s and Ceylan’s films represent two diverse cultural environments, as illustrate the passing of time, marked by this lead character’s voice. By creating a specthey are of two different backgrounds. This diversity is mirrored also by the numerous tacle out of the sight and the sound of time, Marclay’s work takes the edge off the possibilities that the cinematic language can represent the passage of time. The bells common anxiety that is brought by time urgency. Its spectators do not feel as much of a church could signify the high noon or a heard mosque prayer could be imposed discomfort that surfaces as when they would be burdened with the heavy presence of by the sunrise. Then, there could be found cinematic images that remind us of those time in many other narrative films. That otherwise common anxiety that arises in fleeting moments which are much less bounded by cultural or geographical contexts. other works could be attributed to the subtlety of the play between the presence and Beginning with the very earliest days of cinema, dating back to the days of Lumière the absence of time as a reminder of our own temporality. Yet, The Clock’s universe is Brothers, trains have been another way that the silver screen may present us the idea one that is completely synchronized with ours by a spatiotemporal link. The memory of time. The bells and whistles have been associated to the signification of time ever lane we go down in the history of film with Marclay’s work elaborately exposes time since. However, as exemplified in Winter Sleep and The Clock in radically differing rather than hinting at it. This kind of exposure aims to entertain meanwhile reflecting form, the humble routine of a clock hand might make the most aggressive sound a both on the ontology of film and on the films themselves. When we see and hear the person can hear to be reminded that they are temporal beings. Accepting this remindmoments that fleet, it is a joy to follow their movements. In contrast to Marclay’s fineer as a burden like it was once offered by Martin Heidegger, or recognizing it as the ly crafted timepiece, a fine example of contemporary Turkish cinema by Nuri Bilge great healer in the sense that pop psychology dictates depends very much on the art Ceylan adds the sound of time to its edit to the point of driving the spectators out of behind its construction. balance. Winter Sleep (2014), a film that is linked to a “slow cinema” movement by
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