10 copper sheet, each one 18 x 13 cm, (2018) and 27 photos, (2018), exhibited at Elhamra Han, Istanbul. Private collection.
Installation photos: Ridvan Bayrakoglu
Once upon a time in Kars, there had been a large and prosperous middle class, and, although it had been far removed from Ka’s own world, it had engaged in all the rituals Ka remembered from childhood: there had been great balls in those mansions, festivities that went on for days. Kars was an important station on the trade route to Georgia, Tabriz, and the Caucasus; and, being on the border between two defunct empires, the Ottoman and the Russian, the mountainous city also benefited from the protection of the standing armies each power had in turn placed here for that purpose. During the Ottoman period, many different peoples had made Kars their home. There had been a large Armenian community; it was now gone, but its thousand-year-old churches still stood in all their splendour. Many Persians fleeing first from the Mughal and later the Iranian armies had settled in Kars over the years. There were Greeks with roots going to the Byzantine and Pontus periods. There were also Georgians and Kurds and Circassians from various tribes.
… was here is the outcome of two different encountersthat Huo Rf had during his journey to Ani and the city center of Kars. The first encounteris the one he had with the magnificent architecture of Ani and history of the region. The visual language of Ani, shaped by tectonic forms and transformed by a harsh climate and natural disasters, is reflected in the reactive material of the ten copper plates installed on the walls of exhibition space. Details engraved on these plates emphasize selected parts of the historical structures that have been standing in Kars for centuries. By including and engaging the view eras well as the surroundings on its reflective surface, the work becomes a venue for confronting reality. The second encounterappears in the form of graffiti, easily noticeable on the walls of deserted historical buildings. The copper plates focus on love stories, dates, poems, town names and much more that is engraved and written in remote corners and on various walls of the structures in Ani. This work highlights the man-made destruction that the city walls, churches and abbeys have gone through in time. Functioning as a means of communication, these graffiti also remind us of similar examples that we can see daily on streets, fountains, cisterns and other historical buildings. Familiar signs and symbols lead the viewer to unexpected conclusions, ultimately altering the state of the protagonist. … was here aims to shed light on the relationship between the desire to be seen and heard, the urge to go back and find one’s own trace on the walls, and the unrestrainable vandalizing motive.
The silence of snow, thought the man sitting just behind the bus driver. If this were the beginning of a poem, he would have called what he felt inside him ‘the silence of snow’.
Istanbul to Kars on a plane, then to Ani near the Armenian border by car, on to Lake Çıldır in Ardahan, before going back to Ankara on a train… ... was here is also a travel journal. Accompanying the copper plates are photographs, sometimes taken behind train windows, depicting the interior and exteriors of spaces in a non-linear narrative. The series reveals the geographical landscapes of the journey and the images engraved on the copper plates. While shots of frozen Lake Çıldır, Kars and Ani under snow present different states of the region’s harsh climate, photos of the deserted villages of Aşkale and flooded neighborhoods of Iliç bear witness to particular periods in history. As loud and crowded as the copper plates are, photographs of the journey seem to have no trace of life at all.
"The New Life"a novel by Orhan Pamuk, starts with a striking sentence: ''I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.''. This sentence gives an essence of protagonist's frame of mind. However, the author creates strong ideas while shifting the structure of text. The change through reading evolves into a visual logic creation. Linguistic structures of classic novel give way to a chain of reversed images. Literary activity engages with visuals in the sentences. " The New Life"s first sentence is about the relation between the heterogeneity of the novel and another kind of narrative. Similarly, in Flaubert's "Madame Bovary", the chapters which depict protagonist Emma Bovary falling in love are composed of much more than just words.
Even the drops of water in the sun are changed through love and they emerge in other ways in Emma's gaze. The author describes a micro situation and the whole book is a collection of these micro events in Emma Bovary's life. As in the literary narratives I mentioned, photography can reflect the engagement of an expression regime with other design medium.
The apparent clarity and immediacy are transformed from the inside into a thoughtful image. Now, the force of a captured frame tells the story. The visible materials become a sharp tool form. This introduction has been made regarding the latest solo show of Huo Rf, "Was Here''.
The artist's travels and his relationship with everyday objects are storified in the exhibition. In the artist book accompanying the exhibition, there are three texts from Merve Elveren, Pınar Öğrenci and Merve Akar Akgün other than the photographs. Merve Akar Akgün''s text is a sociologic analysis of the works with an aesthetical point of view. Merve Elveren archeologically portraits the geographical elements of the photographs with a reference to Orhan Pamuk novel, 'Snow'. Pınar Öğrenci, on the other hand, takes the reader to a intratextual journey. Personal experiences, historical narratives and city depictions develop the text of Öğrenci. 2. Although it may seem easy to look at a photograph, there is nothing to say fort he viewer as the image is directly obtained through a device. The form is obvious and gaze is limited. However, some works that we see turns everything upside down and seeing turns into a lost story right in the usual form. In the simplest imagery we encounter forces that are moving. Right at that moment, literary form is engaged with a visual one.
The photographs in the exhibition are the outcome of a trip that Huo Rf took to city of Ani, Kars. As the city geographically consists of ruined places and mountainous settlements; this becomes the inspiration for the artist. The city has a deep historical structure from the Kingdom of Armenia to the Byzantine period and then to the Seljuk Empire and the Ottoman Empire. Thus, in the light of the studies, the question of memory comes into question. The question is; how is a city of historical narratives portrayed in the exhibition? Twenty seven photographs of the city are screened on a wall with intervals of eight seconds. The fact that photographs are reflected through a projector, makes the issue less personal. Geographical landscapes, ruins from ancient settlements belong to the collective memory of mankind. In this respect, Pınar Öğrenci's experimental text contribute a lot to the exhibition, as everyone takes their share of the initiative created for the common. Stories and long-lasting novels that are based on a partnership perspective turn into something of everyone's.
3. We witness the art works of a trip that are shaped with both archeological and daily life. In one of the two branches of the exhibition, there is a projected series of photos and on the other, excavated copper plates. As the material for the works is copper which is known to rust with time, the art works naturally gain a delicate and vulnerable form during the exhibition. Huo Rf grasps that detail and carves the wall writings and grafittis he saw in Kars on the copper plates. Wall writings carved on copper look like Ancient Egyptian caly tablets and even if they remain and rust, carvings and writings on them are preserved. "Was Here"is mainly about a micro history writing. The artist records the issue of nomadism in the city and thus opens the door to different literary narratives. History is the realm of the deep fields that contain reality in the context of both fiction and the flow of a narrative pattern. It can not be written just by kings, emperors or dictators. The bravery of Huo Rf in carving the city's historic memory is more than inspirational. At this point, we can ask ourselves a second question: Does the effect of an exhibition with archaeological resonances also turn into a valuable excavation?
Ilker Cihan Biner, published at Art Unlimited Magazine Nov-Dec Issue 2018
a Ten-Floor Apartment
Each floor of a Ten-Floor Apartment building is named after a woman that had an involvement in Huo Rf’s life between 1992 and 2002. Neighborhood relations, friendships and repetitive days all converge to form a layer of memories related to his childhood and turns into an apartment of these memories. A ten-floor apartment (2017) linocut, 70 x 50 cm, edition of 13+2 AP.
Stories In Reverse
Stories In Reverse, curated by Nicole O'Rourke, installation view. Pi Artworks Istanbul, 2017. Photographer credits: Onur Gokce
Huo Rf’s Stories In Reverse
Let’s start at the end of the story, with the works; Huo Rf’s “Homotopia” series. In most works from this series what we see are polaroids of nude men from behind. There are no identifying characteristics, no face or birthmarks are on the bodies. A solitary polaroid is placed upon a chosen fabric or material and within a frame, all different. If there were a question regarding the gender of the models in the photographs, the works have been given male names, sometimes biblical, sometimes ethnically common. They appear to represent unique individuals.
You will have a reaction to the works; a story that is entirely dependent on your own inner workings, your judgements and your preconceptions, maybe even your sexuality, will be woven. You might recognize a certain fabric and hold in your memory all that it represents and understand it and feel it in a way that the next person would not recognize or relate to. After all, how one interprets or sees anything or anyone is more a reflection of them than it is a truth about the other or the thing itself.
Huo Rf’s work often deals with the complications of being an individual in society, identity politics and navigating within and without social and/or cultural norms. The “homotopia” series speaks directly to and references past works and/or life experiences, acting like a catalogue and history for the artist personally. So while each work appears to be, to the unknowing viewer, a story of an individual, they are in fact, pieces of the artist and the artist’s story, and in turn pieces of commentary on social or cultural norms, too. All these ‘individuals’ make up the story. All these stories make up the individual.
Stereotyping is assuming. Judgement is a conclusion before you know anything at all. Discrimination is non-knowledge. To do any of the above, all of which are constructs made and caused by society and culture, is to tell another person’s story for them. And, no one person is just one story. We are all many stories. Sometimes they are stories forced upon us, sometimes stories that inspire us become ours. For Huo Rf inspiration came from artists like Huseyin Bahri Alptekin, and Gulsun Karamustafa. Their stories and their works became part of his life and led to this series. So, too, did his trips to other countries where he photographed the men he met; taken with a polaroid camera they are an homage to Andy Warhol and to the past—(photography was in many ways the chosen medium for the queering of the male gaze in art, and Warhol’s polaroids are his diary of all the people who made up his story). Then, folded within these many stories that birthed this series are the stories of Huo. Rf’s previous works. The story of the “homotopia” series is then ambiguous, an amalgamation which parallels the very ways in which we come to be as we are, full of contradictions, non-sequiturs.
As long as time keeps moving steadily forward all we have and know is what or where we are now and the wheres and whats from before. While human nature wishes to know what happens next, ambiguity is the uncomfortable seat upon which we forever sit. And, ambiguity is the bedfellow of assumption. This is why we tell stories in reverse, why we stereotype and judge and assume, and why we look at things like weather reports; we want to believe we have a firm grasp on predicting the unpredictable and knowing the unknowable, we desire the familiar.
An object of art, dated, is an object that proclaims its place in time as an accumulation of what came before it, and a mark to move forward, to come to terms, to remember, and to pronounce. All works of art are final stories in reverse or as final as you are the final version of yourself as you read this.
Bronimir, polaroid on copper plate, 56,5 x 30,5 cm, 2016. Private collection
Roder, Sytrofoam, sponge and polaroid 56,5 x 30,5 cm, 2015. Private collection
Ben and Miron, handcraft pillow case and polaroid, 56,5 x 40,5 cm, 2016. Private collection
Mar. 2018 , First Raunt, a selection from the collection of Banu-Hakan Çarmikli, Galata Greek School, Istanbul, TR
K'AAD, KAAT, KAYIT, KAGIT
K'AAD, KAAT, KAYIT, KAGIT
Signs of Time presents an installation made of handmade paper for the exhibition BAHAR ( The Istanbul Off-site Project For Sharjah Biennial 13 ). The collective production and collaboration of the artists transforms into a collage made of paper. The conversations of the group of artists who got together regularly for two months turns into a surface. Used papers, newspapers, magazines, grain, seed, clay, pulse, water, glue, vegetables, plants, leaves, interventions on already produced papers and writings become a new production as the artists' materials.
Artists: Sena, Sabo, Huo Rf, Ecem Yuksel, Burak Ata
Curated by: Zeynep Oz
- Kagit means paper in Turkish and the title of the work has been inspired by its pronunciation in different dialects.
Signs of Time, K’AAD, KAAT, KAYIT, KAGIT, 2017. Photo credit: GorLab
Paper is a multi-purpose material, which can be used in many areas. It is most commonly used as a writing and a printing tool, but it is also used in industrial and construction sectors, as a cleaning and packaging material and as a food additive in some of the Asian cultures. Since paper is mostly used as a printing tool, it is also referred as a document. Besides, those materials used in stock market, such as bills or stocks can also be named as paper. It is also common to refer to a banknote as paper. Turkish translation of paper, ‘kağıt’ has its origin in Farsi, and the word is pronounced differently in various subdialects in Turkey. For exampe, “k'aad” in Rize, “kaat” in Ordu and its surroundings, and “kayit” in the South-west part of Anatolia.
Signs of Time, an artist collective, will be at Abud Effendi Mansion with their installation, K’AAD, KAAT, KAYIT, KAGIT, with which they elaborated on the term paper. *http://www.wikiwand.com/tr/Kâğıt
photo by: Nazlı Erdemirel
photo by: Nazlı Erdemirel
Living Even So Series
Photo credit: Chroma Istanbul
Dispossession is when something is taken away. Replaced is about the kinds of dispossessions that supercede material loss, perhaps even precede or proceed it. It is about intangible loss, loss associated with time, or perception, or place, or all---and it is about the way we replace, renew, reassociate. It is about memory, rememberance, nostalgia and in some cases forgetting and absence and the replacements made instinctually and sometimes ironically... and the humanity of it all.
Murat Akagunduz’s Kaf Series (2016), Hasan Özgur Top’s Color Catalogue (2016), and Pipilotti Rist’s You Called Me Jacky (1990), deal specifically with dispossessions-cum replacements caused (or allowed) by technology. Akagündüz’s works are white on white paintings of the tops of the world’s highest mountain peaks, seen through the lens of Google Earth. It is the act of painting, the assuredly human task, as a study on the digital revolution’s affect on our relationship with Earth, our seemingly unlimited access to it and our simulataneous dispossession from it. The mountain top to the sateillite to the screen to the eyes and then the hand of the artist, each replacing the other. Likewise, Hasan Özgür Top takes the colors we have become accustomed to, be it in daily life or seen online or on TV, and uses their associative name and breaks them down into RGB and CMYK scales using digital applications. The work gives us a chance to see the ways in which something as basic as a color can hold meaning, and can be a vehicle of dispossession and replacement from itself. We can say the color of a prisoners uniform in Al-Raqqua is orange, but what shade of orange, exactly? Pipilotti Rist’s video, from 1990, deals too, with technology, but of a different time. The work shows the artist lip-synching to a song by Kevin Coyne while superimposed in front of scenes of the outside of a moving train, sometimes a fire burning. The song is about love lost and the work, made at the time of the dawn of the music video, is a take on this phenomenon and the artist’s questioning of authenticity and production in the field. Overall and altogether it speaks to the dispossession of intent from meaning and meaning from verity (not unlike both Akagündüz’s and Top’s works). Be it about a love affair lip syched, or the changes in the music industry at that time, in either case it denotes a kind of nostalgic ironic jest, replacing a suppossed loss with a physical, bodily proclamation.
While both Servet Kocyigit’s Wall (2006), and Clemens von Wedemeyer’s video Silberhöhe + die Siedlung (2003), are seemingly more about buildings or material objects and not the body, they are in fact a look at the ways people preserve and replace. Koçyiğit’s photograph shows the facade of a building in Israel. Each individual block of the structure is numbered. The building, likely historical enough to warrant preservation, is about to be torn down, piece by piece, only to be rebuilt again. Von Wedemeyer’s video shows pre-fabricated block housing in East Germany being torn down, never to be rebuilt. It addresses the urban planning of the late-Modern era, an era associated with a kind of utopic vision of architecture in the city, and an apparent failure. The setting is dark and dreary, but there is no question that something new will there be built, regardless of its longevity.
Michael Rakowitz’s Return (2004-ongoing), and Civan Ozkanoglu’s To Be Notified (2016) deal with political and societal dispossessions and the attempt to renegotiate or question legal facts. Rakowitz, continuing the family business of his Iraqi grandfather, opened a store in Brooklyn under the same company name, Davisons & Sons, and aimed to import and sell Iraqi dates in the United States. The installation and video recounts this impossible process due to sanctions on Iraqi products by the US government, and in this way is both a historical account of Iraqi dates and too, the relationship between the Middle East and the US, all under the umbrella of the artists personal history as an Iraqi-American. Özkanoğlu’s work, a vinyl text that runs along the gallery’s walls, is taken from a newspaper announcement regarding the grueling details of a woman’s marriage to her abuser, and her realization that 13 years into not seeing him, her divorce was still not legally confirmed. The announcement recounts the horrors of her life with her husband, and calls for a lawsuit against him if he does not show up in court on the asked for date. It proclaims, ‘a decision will be made in your absence.’ The work illuminates the dark side of marriages and the kinds of dispossessions privy to being a woman in a vulnerable place and circumstance.
Erinc Seymen’s Family Values 2 (2016) and Perpetuum Mobile (2016), and Hera Buyuktasciyan’s The Missing Cuckoo, (2013) look at the invisible histories, the ones which live orally or intrisincally and the power of people to replace the dispossessions they cause with new narratives, or escapism. Seymen’s Family Values 2 shows a 1950s era nuclear family.
Their faces are obscured by an elaborate and luxurious display of food. It is a critique of heteronormative social structures, and the priviledging of consumable superficiality over humanness. Perpetuum Mobil is of a cake that holds the illusion of movement. Perpetual motion is a study that attempts to find a motion that continues, replacing itself, indefinitely. It is akin to the idea of the nuclear family, this idea of repetition, of reproduction, of lineage. And, just like dispossession is inevitable, so to is the impossibility of perpetual motion. Büyüktaçıyan’s work is a story of escape, and the unknown. The missing cuckoo could be inside the clock about to depart, or could be long gone. The cuckoo then becomes a metaphor for the erasure of sociopolitical histories, and its invisibility references the isolation indebted to being categorically unknown and/or forgotten. The installation beckons a feeling though, of escape, and ultimately and inherently to this, is a feeling of overcoming dispossessions, in one way or another.
Cansu Cakar, Aslı Cavusoglu, and Yasam Sasmazer simulataneously dispossess and replace paradigms in Art and/or Art History itself, each dealing with the human form in specific ways. Çakar’s work on paper, Rumi (2016), replicates the Islamic Art motif called Rumi, which was once an animal figure turned into a simplified motif so as to follow Islamic laws in art, ideas which made firm to avoid figurative representations. She nods to the transformation and dispossession of the motif from its animal form due to religion. The affect of religion on something so benign as an animal motif brings to bear the many natural things made necessarily hidden and dispossessed because of religious sanctities. The artist further comments on this by drawing an upside down mosque, specifically and pointedly that which is the burial ground and shrine of Mevlana Rumi. Today revelers and lovers of Rumi’s writings can go there, and ironocally, can even buy plastic replicas of him or the mosque. amazer also takes an art historical trope and reverses, perhaps even criticizes it---in her case the sculptural bust. Her wooden busts, a material opposing the marbles of antique busts, are Untitled, depicting ‘Anonymous’ They are covered in fungus and moss, their faces obstructed. She has replaced the busts of Art History, ones meant for idolization and memorializing, with a universal, every-person envisionment. Instead of reminding the living of the beloved dead, it reminds the living of a kind of death or a oneness with Earth---the godliness is replaced with a humanity. Çavuoğlu’s Horror Vacui (2014) uses an archeological object, the Mother Goddess dating from 6000 BCE, found at Çatalhöyük, Turkey with its head and one armrest missing. She comments on the common practice of complete archeological renderings of incompletely found objects, formulated by comparing other objects found from the region and time period. Instead she presents seven options of what it may have looked like whole, based on different and scattered findings from the site. It shows the artist’s alternative replacements and the artist’s attempt to display the dispossession inherent in assuming an ancient object’s probable structure.
Vahap Avsar’s Cumulative Painting Series (Blonde Daisy Girl) (2016) and Secil Yersel’s Ongoing (2016) are personal and archival ponderings on time passed and the way memory is revisited. Avar, a conceptually minded artist, here finds a middle ground in his interests. In placing a postcard from the AND archive, (which he acquired the full rights to and which was active in the 1970s), atop a chemically-made ‘painting,’ this work sits between the known and the unknown, something that can be considered the premise of conceptualism. The postcards in this series also hold a personal and poignant meaning for the artist. They were the postcards that, as a kid, he would replicate with paint, making it the basis for his first ever works of art. This work, and the works in this series, represent Avar’s ability to both dispossess and replace his own hand as Artist. Yersel, too, revisits her past. The installation puts together photographs taken in different locations, different years; all taken from her archive and dating from 1997-2016. Each photo holds a hidden narrative, once lost and now reconstructed. The amnesia of the wheres and whens of each photo is amended by their placement within their black empty space, allowing the viewer to replace the dispossessed memory of the artist with their own anecdotal story.
While Avar’s and Yersel’s works are about personal memory, Hakan Gursoytrak’s Black Fountain (2015), and Huo Rf’s Living Even So series (2016), look at a current moment, and the sensory dispossessions that are possible. Gürsoytrak’s painting is dominatingly dark, mostly blacks covering the canvas, with subtle brushstrokes to show the presence of two glasses. One for water, the other for Rakı. It is a still life of sorts but of a drink meant to be consumed cold, so the artist is simultaneously jesting at a genre or type in Art (not unlike Çakar’s, amazer’s, and Çavusoğlu’s works), but more accurately the work is about feeling, about time passing and potentiality. You imagine the drink being finished then taken away or refilled, the location, the time, unclear. Huo Rf’s paintings show the artists living room and bedroom in abstract postive and negative space. Each canvas color reflects different skin tones, races, ethnicities. He has made his personal a universal, has taken his home and replaced it with chrome shadows, an abstract vision that reflects the way we often rememeber a space. They represent both universality and individuality, and even reflect too the way we minimalize, read and dispossess others - as skin color and an abstract outline based on assumption and memory. Together, Gürsoytrak’s and Huo Rf’s works illuminate the moment of dispossession before replacement.
... We see Pipilotti Rist as pretending to vocalize an old sad song by trying to lip-sync in her video "You Called Me Jacky", which has published in 1990. As it has written in exhibition text, we are seeing an answer given from contemporary art scene to video clip format's early stage naive aesteteich side that will dominate popular culture in the later years. But this aestetich has fell behind in today and it's related to be watched from 26 years before by us; otherwise there's no time lapse in this art work. So, more than a loss, as we see in another similiar works of her, Rist's portrait as an artist which is quiet successful at adapting popular formats stands in front of us. Actually, we are encountering time lapses in Vahap Avşar's "Cumulative Paintings". Artist's drawings of postcards which he drew by looking at them when he's a child are part of some archive that he happened to have property rights of; this fact is pointing that one person's cycle between two life parts and possibility of taking back whatever loss in some extent.
Maybe it'll be an inexact observation, but I'm finding some past era's visual texture in from a much more younger generation than me, who is Huo Rf and he's series "Living Even So". This works that composing stuff and furnitures from indoor and different skin colors as sharp contrasted negative-positive zones and also doing this by subtractive method are reminding me of 70's aestetich that I witnessed when I was child. Series' name and using different skin colors (belongs to human or animal maybe), makes me the existance of some contextual reference which is hard to read (or maybe there are people passing by from that space)...
'Living even so No. 4', oil and copper sheet on canvas, 30 x 28 x 4 cm, 2016 Private collection
In new Rampa show, dispossession and replacement take center stage
Published at Sabah Daily News, October 7, 2016
‘Replaced,' the new show at Istanbul's Rampa Gallery, explores loss and renewal, and continues until Nov. 11
This is an exhibition about loss and its replacement: about how dispossession, in its numerous forms, leads us to renew our existences. Curated by Nicole Dee O'Rourke and Esra Sarıgedik Öktem, Rampa's autumn show "Replaced" brings together works by artists from different continents and generations. Right at the entrance of the gallery there is the "Living So" series by Huo Rf, one of the most promising young artists in Istanbul's contemporary art scene today. Depicted in seven scenes, Huo Rf's work offers us glimpses of his living room and bedroom; the space is represented in its negative and positive versions and the mixture of oil and copper sheet on canvas has an unsettling effect. The evocative chrome shadows in the seven paintings uncannily recreate the memory of one's living quarters.
Another highlight of the show is Hera Büyüktaşçıyan's "The Missing Cuckoo", a work that gets its power from its simplicity. Büyüktaşçıyan has tied 50 handkerchiefs to a wooden cuckoo clock that belonged to her grandmother. The handkerchiefs stretch from the clock to the viewer who is left to wonder whether there is a cuckoo waiting inside the wooden mechanism. Has the bird flown or is it perhaps preparing her escape? The viewer finds herself in the anxious position of waiting.
Replacement is the central theme in Servet Koçyiğit's "Wall", a photograph the artist took in Israel. The facade of a building that waits to be destroyed to be reconstructed again piece by piece reveals the mathematics of replacement: every brick has been numbered so as to be able to be re-buildable. The striking image of the facade with its endless numbers is not dissimilar to computer code, with its algorithms and secret instructions intended to inform those who will execute it.
Behind the "Wall," Clemens von Wedemeyer's video installation "Silberhohe + die Siedlung" brings the viewer to a gloomy East Germany town where a pre-fabricated block housing is destroyed.
The modernist architecture of the blocks mean little in their moment of annihilation and one wonders what style of architecture will be used in the buildings that will replace them.
"Dispossession is when something is taken away," Nicole Dee O'Rourke and Esra Sarıgedik Öktem write in the exhibition program. "Replaced is about the kinds of dispossessions that supersede material loss, perhaps even proceed or precede it. It is about intangible loss, loss associated with time, or perception, or place, or all--and it is about the way we replace, renew, and re-associate. It is about memory, remembrance, and nostalgia and in some cases forgetting and absence and the replacements made instinctually and sometimes ironically." On the Clemens von Wedemeyer video, they point to the apparent failure of "the late-Modern era, an era associated with a kind of utopic vision of architecture in the city.
Just like those East German apartment buildings, the elderly institution of marriage is swiftly being replaced these days, according to Erinç Seymen's "Family Values 2", a painting that depicts the nuclear family from 1950s. Members of the family in this painting are hidden behind luxurious food, symbols of material overabundance that conceal the superficiality of the shallow happiness of their marriage.
Perhaps the wittiest work here is Hasan Özgür Top's "Color Catalogue" a brilliantly conceived and executed set of colors whose names refer constantly to political crises in our world. From the orange of political prisoner uniforms to the green zones of the Middle East, this cunning deconstruction of classic RGB and CMYK scales (a total of 32 aluminum prints) investigates the relationship between dispossession and colors.
The work that most strongly dominates the gallery, meanwhile, is Murat Akagündüz's "Kaf Series", five oil paintings that depict the mythical mountain of Kaf. Akagündüz's white on white paintings are based on Google Earth images of mountain tops; he has also included the coordinates of those behind canvases, thanks to Google, the company that makes its fortune by providing unlimited access to universal knowledge while also stripping the world from its real appearances, transforming them into numbers every second.
Hurma (the date fruit) is at the heart of Michael Rakowitz's "Return," an installation that explores the artist's Iraqi grandfather's hurma store in Brooklyn. Founded with the aim to sell dates imported from Iraq into the US, the company found itself in a very uncomfortable position, when sanctions on Iraqi products made it impossible to move dates in-between continents.
"The installation and video recounts this impossible process due to sanctions on Iraqi products by the U.S. government," the curators explain, "and in this way is both a historical account of Iraqi dates and too, the relationship between the Middle East and the US, all under the umbrella of the artist's personal history as an Iraqi-American." The work comprises of two wooden crates, date seeds and saplings, a video, jars belonging to Basra Date Molasses and Ajar Date Molasses. Viewers are invited to taste dates in the boxes.
In Hakan Gürsoytrak's oil painting "Black Fountain", two glasses, with very little left in them, demand the viewer to interpret their meaning. Having been almost completely deprived of their possessions, they are waiting to be replaced and refilled with new liquids, as the viewer experiences the anxious moment of their anticipation.
KAYA GENÇ, ISTANBUL
'Living even so No. 2', oil and copper sheet on canvas, 27 x 20 x 4 cm, 2016. Private collection
28th September - 12th November 2016
Curated by Nicole O’Rourke and Esra Sarigedik Oktem
List of Artists:
Murat Akagündüz, Vahap Avşar, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Cansu Çakar, Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Hakan Gürsoytrak, Huo Rf, Servet Koçyiğit, Civan Özkanoğlu, Hasan Özgür Top, Michael Rakowitz, Pipilotti Rist, Erinç Seymen, Yaşam Şaşmazer, Seçil Yersel, Clemens von Wedemeyer.
A glass of rakı stands half-full, soon to be re-filled. The human body is overcome by nature, mushrooms sprouting as if extensions of the skin. Artifacts with missing pieces are filled at the will of the artist. The structure of a childhood home remembered as positive and negative space, abstractly. A color or an image is taken from its context or intended meaning, and re-appropriated.
This exhibition is about dispossession vis-a-vis Judith Butler’s and Athena Athanasiou’s* ideas and, too, about the aftermath of the dispossession, the replacements both variable and unavoidable. It will deal with issues pertaining to the body itself and the body in society, politics, culture and beyond. And, it will take these ideas in the context of memory and forgetting, time and space, and the individual and collective, in an aesthetic search for the ideas, colors and mediums that elicit in the viewer a kind of re-possession or re-imagination or re-placement of that which exists as fact or even rumor or even clouded memory.
While current politics are causing the kinds of material dispossessions that create mass refugee crises, for example, there are other, harder to navigate, dispossessions that abound in these very same situtations, unspoken and overlooked in the name of the seemingly more affecting material losses. And, too, there are non-politicized and in many ways trivial and predictable dispossessions happening to everyday people, every where. What remains clear, as Judith Butler and Athena Athanasiou so clearly allude to, is that our physical bodies and beliefs, the space/place or environment that surrounds us, and the time we live in is what defines our ‘dispossessability.’ This is why Bulter and Athanasiou call it performative, because it is of the body, and the body in space.
* In Judith Butler’s and Athena Athanasiou’s Dispossession: The Performative in the Political (2009) they parse through the very many ways one can be dispossessed, not only in terms of property or material possessions. Rather, they look to the circumstances in which individuals can be emotionally, socially, sexually, politically dispossessed; kinds of dispossession that are overlooked in our highly commercialized and economized time.
'Living even so No. 5', oil and copper sheet on canvas, 30 x 18 x 4 cm, 2016 Private collection
Commanding Silence Series
'Commanding Silence' is based on dysfunctional maps, which have been placed on the artist's country, Turkey. All paintings are bordered by four city air views, named Mardin, Mus, Hakkari and Diyarbakir. The Artist begins with the reality of people living in these cities and combines this reality with his journey, from the inside out. He reunites different pains and conflicts, which have been born in different lands. He tries to build a common visual memory that includes loss, ethnic origins, emptiness, innocence, murder and culture all over the world. Mainly, he sees the pervasive silence and with "Commanding Silence" he shouts through it.
'D', oil on canvas, 20 x 28 cm, 2016. (Inspired by Rufus Wainwright's Going to a Town video). Private collection
'M', oil on canvas, 20 x 28 cm, 2016. Private collection
Raizvanguarda artist residency pop-up exhibition installation photo, credits: Margarida Sampaio
'H', oil on canvas, 20 x 28 cm, 2016. Private collection
'Mu', oil on canvas, 20 x 28 cm, 2016. Private collection
Commanding Silence and new works from same series are taking place at 4th Mardin Biennial.
Commanding Silence Series are taking place at 4th Mardin Biennial.
Commanding Silence Series are taking place at 4th Mardin Biennial, German Headquarters.
Iskender Atamyan Mansion, used during World War I as German Headquarters, by reason of Germany’s being an ally of the Ottoman Empire, dates back to the 19th Century and is compatible in structure with Mardin mansions. There are many original photographs of the mansion and elements that render it significant are the fact that in 1917, it was a building that had been used by the Germans during World War I as headquarters and that it had also been used by Mustafa Kemal Pasha as garrison, dwelling and headquarters.
'D', sheet copper and brass and gum, 24 x 27 x 2,5 cm, 2018.
'Mu', sheet copper and brass and gum, 24 x 27 x 2,5 cm, 2018
'H', sheet copper and brass and gum, 24 x 27 x 2,5 cm, 2018
'M', sheet copper and brass and gum, 24 x 30 x 2,5 cm, 2018
Drawing on actual money, copper sheet with frame, 15x48 cm. Background: Sewed, used and skin colored letter pieces collage 171 x 102 cm, 2015
MÜMKÜN, exhibited at Karl Gallery 2015
Broken and You
It is rare in my experience to encounter dedicated realistic painting that is so openly questioning, and that gives the viewer such a quiet distance in which to view, while not being laden with ideology. Precisely by managing this delicate balance these works of Huo Rf achieve a degree of sincerity that are able to hold up over time and remain sincere, which is also a rare and a dangerously laden state these days, especially in navigating a description of the experience in words… …although here we with words, which can at best be a positive support that only begins to touch on the contextually faceted functional reality of the physical works. In these works, precise assertions and negations are successively placed one after another allowing the viewer to cycle through the construction of meanings, through straightforward use of the denotative qualities of the work, directly channeling into the connotative. Each of the works in this series are composed of a left panel on which a painted representation of broken glass is rendered in oil on canvas, with a black background, and a right panel of equal size, the surface of which is an actual sheet of copper. Because the painted representation is so minimal, it carries a very literal quality, and so remains an assertion of the object itself rather than engaging in visual narrative. This, in my reading, allows the work to more openly engage in a functional philosophical narrative, as it engages to touch physical reality, by actively taking place within it, with open use of, and representation of, materials of the world, rather than imaginative play. If there is any question about this the right panel reiterates these same qualities with even stronger continuity, as it is not a painted representation, but a physical material that, being “of the world” so to speak, already has many active qualities and connotations. The first of which is its obvious reflective quality, reflecting while at the same time distorting the viewer, setting up an interesting interchange of a positive/active relationship that comes simultaneously via negation, in the distortion inherent in the active reflection. Add also the many connotations of copper as a conductive tool, a tool for connection, transmitting data, warmth, etc. and the fact that copper is also a metallic version of skin-tone also cannot be denied in the reading of these works. The questions these works keep cycling me back to are those of identity and the delicate or vulnerable nature of identity between one’s self and also in connection to others. We are already called to question ourselves in the title of the works, and to question our perception in the painted pane of glass, which interestingly is only described as glass precisely because it is broken, once again, a positive identifier delivered through a negation. Ideas of being connected to one’s self seem an impossibility to contemplate thoroughly, although are still functional despite their degree of delusion. For precisely when one believes they have achieved a degree of self-awareness, that is the moment when that very selfawareness will start to evaporate, and if left unchecked, will descend into ideology. These works call to my mind irreconcilable contradictions within the delicate perceptual turns we take in attempting to live today with a functional consciousness, in this ever-complicating expanse of our faceted reality. In the end it’s perhaps impossible to decide, perhaps we are incapable of opening or shutting a door with our minds. Which perhaps is as it should be. We will move forward in functional reality, the world in which these works exist, and call to question. And in hindsight, perhaps we’ll be able to see what we’ve done, and (hopefully, if we do want to see critically in attempting to avoid ideology) still not know who we are.
Never Without Me
Installation shots, exhibited at Galerist, 2013
‘SIGNS OF TIME’ JULY 18 – AUGUST 17, 2013.
Galerist is pleased to present the first exhibition of ‘Signs of Time’ artist initiative between July 18 and August 17, 2013. The show, which is the first of a series, holds the same title as the artist initiative and aims to display the wide-ranging and technically diverse output of Huo Rf, Merve Morkoç, and Sena. The project came to life when the three young artists, who are supported by Taner Ceylan, came together to create a common platform to express their artistic stance. Their goal was to declare their independence in light of the change that is taking hold of their generation and heralding a new era. The initiative explores various methods to show its members’ influences and to leave a lasting mark. To do so, they will stage new exhibitions in different venues and to grow their ranks with new members. This project was named by one of Turkey’s leading contemporary artists, Taner Ceylan and directed by art writer, Hatice Utkan. The initiative captures the spirit and the signs of time through a series of same titled, independent exhibitions that do not follow a single artistic trend.