Arter on Istiklal scores its next big exhibition that is worthwhile watching. Against all efforts of the government to suppress the freedom of expression, these three artists hold their ground not through speech, but through letting the visitors experiencing their thoughts.
By Laurens Bammens
The strength of an artist lies in his capability to convey a message to everyone. Art is a way of storytelling where the theme may be dark and pessimistic while the core is optimistic. It can also be the other way around. This is what the three artists in Arter have in common. By sketching scenery and landscapes, the three of them try to show a much more brutal reality.
The ground floor in Arter is home to glaciers and icebergs of Plexiglas. In Bahar Yürükoğlu’s ‘Flow Through’, you can hear the sound of melting ice dripping on a puddle. Though it is like it is dripping on your own head. Much like a Chinese torture device, but with a slight degradation in effectiveness. Yet the comparison stands when you realise the laziness of the world in combatting global warming.
The installation called ‘Waterfall’ is not further more than a Plexiglas mirror. It is like staring into a waterfall but being confronted with yourself in a much smaller appearance because of the bent glass.
Further down, the floor becomes a glacier in itself. You are walking as if you are drunk, but in reality you are walking on the unstable foundations of the melting icecaps. The television screen shows a rainbow. If you stare too long, one could swear they see clouds appearing which can be thoroughly confused with icebergs. They are flowing through the sky and the rainbow, floating away.
In a dark room serving as cinema, short film ‘The Navigator’ is playing. An abstract representation of the sun in the form of a figure engulfed in golden aluminium foil. The sun is trying to show us something, trying to navigate us towards a better future with better climate. Yet it seems the sun is lost as well. The film plays with time, going from past to present and in between time and space.
‘Vertigo’ by Murat Akagündüz complements ‘Flow Through’ nicely. It is a representation of mountains taken from Google Earth and converted into paintings. The special angle the artist used is to create a sort of surreality. Like when filming a street from above at an 45° angle and playing it slightly faster can create the illusion of a miniature city. With that, the artist gave the impression the mountains are looked down upon from space. Placing humanity outside of the box looking through a periscope to the Earth.
The top floor has ‘Unfiltered’ by Şener Özmen. The three installations make it look like a children’s room. The artist uses his right for freedom of speech without actually using speech. He draws attention to things that are happening in Turkey. Thing like the Kurdish conflict. He represents himself through a telescope lying in a hammock on a palm tree beach in a popular holiday destination. For the Turkish people, this is normal, but for the Kurdish it suddenly becomes special.
Özmen also quite literally fights against the freedom of expression in Turkey. On a television screen, he shows the censorship filters as a sort of spotlight that are looking for things to censor. In the background, it shows an image which says the source cannot be found. There is nothing left to censor.
***Laurens Bammens, PXL Journalism student and he is Dağ Medya Intern during the 15 February – 3 June 2016