artist / participant
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin (Istanbul, 1957–2007) was fascinated by the difference between the promise of something and its banal reality. This promise could lie in the name of a cheap hotel offering the experience of a distant place, or in the branding of a mass-produced product unconvincingly simulating luxuriousness or exoticism. Alptekin was an artist that saw the profound effects of globalisation on the everyday, observing the movement of people and products across geographies, and studious of forms of feral capitalism surging from places considered the fringes of Western modernity. It is the signifiers and detritus of all this—traces of the burgeoning effects of mobility, trade and image circulation—that Alptekin used as the materials for his artistic work, as a means for contemplating what it all represented. He focused on an artistic production broad in scope, which included photography, sculpture, installation, neon text, video and collage, reflecting the prosaic material qualities of "global junk" that came with the flow of this transnational trade. Part of the first generation of Turkish artists to be globally active and nationally influential, Alptekin is considered one of the most significant figures in the established contemporary art scene of Istanbul. Democratic Luxury is a major retrospective of his practice.
Democratic Luxury has been developed as a collaboration between M HKA and Rampa Gallery, Istanbul, with the displays across both venues together forming a retrospective of the work of Alptekin. Democratic Luxury has been organised in partnership with the Estate of Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, with the participation of M. D. Morris. The Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin archive is managed by SALT, Istanbul.