artists & participants
Through the inspiration of Turkey this exhibition will look at the systems of pattern visually and historically. I will address the term modern as in modernity that recalls the concept of innovation, the ordered accumulation of knowledge, technology and its effect on society and contemporary art.
The history of pattern is ingrained into the culture of contemporary Turkey. The use of pattern in the Islamic arts combined their affinity for geometry with pre-existing traditions through the means of "grand narratives", which are stories a culture tells itself about its practices and beliefs. The hedging of these narratives surface in both tradition and in art making, through applied arts and crafts, architecture, music and history; these patterns can be read in many ways, much like the icon, layered with multiple meanings; historically patterns can be read as a time line to identify a period and ground the society through a common trajectory yet creates freedom for personal inflection.
"A pattern is a signifier for specific ideals and reaches it goals only through repetition."
In one decade starting in 1920's The Turkish Republic discarded whole system of Islamic law to adopt new Western traditions. If we look at pattern as a signifier for specific ideas, then the effect of the democratization of Turkey would too adjust to the cultural equation; here democracy was intravenously fed to the country and the effect separated heritage from the individual creating a facade, which worked as a tool to adapt to a new society, now governed by democracy treated with terminology of modernism as a translation of western ideologies and capitalism to help develop an autonomous social landscape. The installation was to be a "ready-made", democracy. The postmodern approach of having a dialogue with it, unpacking it, replication, and the conveying it, was a necessary detour for artists and this society to form a balanced relationship with their own heritage blending the past and the evolving present as their own position internationally. I believe this to be a pattern or cultural metamorphosis where the previous generation's conceptual structure becomes the next generation's guide to transformation with the uses of their own history.
"History is a mirror of the past and a lesson for the present." (Persian Proverb)
Nearly three quarters of a century later this postmodernist manifestation can be discussed in a global context on many levels, in relation to the equation of these terms position, modern, global, democracy, economy, history and heritage.
In this exhibition there are five artists who use history and information systems to recycle and reform cultural movements to create a specific and yet shared languages that directly relate to the essence of Istanbul, and the use of the term, actions of pattern in contemporary art and culture at large.
Ekrem Yalcindag exhibits two oil paintings both featuring a white and silver cube pattern, The Square is a symbol of physical experience in Islamic geometric patterns. These paintings are mirroring each other, lending a space for the viewer to get lost in their own memory through repetition and complexity; offering the possibility of infinite growth yet grounds the works in a historical context of paint. Both the history of Paint and Pattern create a trust in repetition. Ekrem makes use of the modernist concerns of paint, the reuse of craft techniques and iconic pattern to create an illusionist space that questions importance of the medium as medium. This body of work suggests to the viewer to trust in the object of the painting and the quality of the craftsmanship, this trust is inherent to many artist that use social context and traditional mediums. Jeff Koons stated, "My belief in art includes a moral duty. When I make a work of art, I try to convey a sense of trust to the viewer through the quality of the craftsmanship." Koons, an American artist, uses kitsch and plastic culture to create a pattern through narratives and mediums anchored in historical context; his tactful approach creates trust through medium and cultural familiarity.
Trust in history and craftsmanship go hand in hand, now with the use of informational systems, the internet as a "public" data bank; enables the global public to contribute to history and the process of the maker, furthering the use of trust and a departure from the previous notions of art.
Inci Eviner creates an installation of illustrations that are read as wallpaper, recalling decorative arts; the images refer to generally medical illustrations, the 19th century visual records of plants, animal kingdom and motifs belonging to Islamic and Western cultures. The artist pallet is handdrawn iconic images which she puts into her databank, for recollection. The artist has said that her use of the technique, skill, the art taste and aesthetic pleasures are used to trap the viewer, Ms. Eviner sets a stage for chance, to let go of preconceived notions of Art and trust in your perceptions as she too releases certain ownership in creating an installation narrated by maker and viewer collective memory in a formulated space to unravel the story of the iconography stripped bare. Inci Eviner's palette is sophisticated in association with history, and has a lightness that breathes beauty and sentiment into sometimes not so pleasant metaphors.
Gülcin Aksoy has produced a woven a rug with the words in Turkish, "I give up".
The craft of weaving goes back to pre 5th century, with a full vocabulary built out of motifs, and patterns, this craft lives today though most contemporary carpets are being produced commercially, still the rug just as it did in the past holds an expression of the producer, a public message to the outer world of the producer position.
Here you walk on the rug with an expectation to see art, and you are a participant, with little rights except for what this situation evokes, "I give up".
What does this mean, I can not tell you, as that is the artist's right, but I can assume since it is on a traditional woven rug, I must assume, "I give up" on resisting my heritage, "I give up" on preconceived notion of what art is. I Give up, is a poetic statement situated on a rug that symbolizes key situations in this culture, both in heritage, and craft. Gülcin has not given up, she has begun as we walk over the carpet and contemplate what "giving up" means in this context. What we give up, in creating separation between our heritage/ collective history and ourselves, in the long run do we reconstruct ones original situation?
Nalan Yirtmac uses photographs of the Kurban Bayrami, the religious festival where animals are slain in the open, as sacrifices. This festival was documented in daily newspaper, Hürriyet, 2005, Nalan selected the images and made stencil which she applied to wood, decorated with traditional page-frame embellishments, used with hatt, the art of calligraphy. Nalan is interested in the violence, and that event that still fails to disturb the majority of people. As a viewer that is not familiar to the ritual, the act is brutal, but within the context of history, the documentation then the replication of the event acts as a pattern pushing further the message, reinforces the tradition, just as the newspaper aim is in publishing the event, empowering the ritual as the narrator.
Nalan's use of the graffiti inspired mediums to replicate this ritual is a powerful personal position to reflect her horror of the violence; graffiti is rooted in an urban practice. Though the installation is not graffiti, it calls on the power of graffiti, an original media of the hand of unheard the citizen/artist. Graffiti is considered to be a honed craft that embodies many styles and spurred a radical movement in reaction to an oppressive situation; the platform is integral to the message, literally written on the wall. The power of this sociological discipline, street culture, propelled a movement which is now under the umbrella of hip hop culture that has spread faster that any previous movement flowing through many commercial industries internationally giving an affinity to a society of seemingly unrecognized voices which now are being heard loud and clear through a global resemblance, as singer/rapper Tupac Shakur said, "All around the world same song", Resurrection, Same Song.
Tal Hadad presents Global Heart Me: Air Play Ground.
Air Play Ground is a sound installation where FM frequencies are manipulated to broadcast a voyage in Istanbul through music, entertainment and living soundscapes.
The Air Play Ground is transmitted through a gathering of portable radios, and a series of drawings, made with the cable, of iconic situation that reference the musical landscape of the city Istanbul. In the gallery the viewer will navigated through the composition of urban noise, landscape recordings, sound movement, music, and songs. The artist's uses the gallery space to shift that way one perceives music, to expose the way the artist composes music. This music composition will be published and distributed through a boot leg industry, a bootleg is a newly created item - LP, CD; also includes record sleeves - which has never existed in this form as an official, original item. There is a larger conversation about the reuse of information and copyright in artistic, practice vs. distribution, though just like other forms of street culture, these actions create a barometer of popular taste and create new markets. In this exhibition the artist use of the boot leg aesthetic and distribution tactic is to reach a broader public, relate the use of modern disposable systems, and mirroring the people's relationship to cultural surroundings. Tal Hadad's interest lay in the audio detritus of collective memory and its effect on the perception of modern music. These interests are exposed as he excavates the peripheral sounds of social patterns of the city to create an exquisite composition that allows for new expression with endless variables.
The uses of pattern is reinforced as a collective in this exhibition by replication in both the applied and conceptual context, One could refer to the previous installation of the democratic policy as a forerunner, to the use of technology today, forming a copy and paste culture worldwide, exposing cultural patterns that are inclusive and embrace a new social order associated to a global pursuit of modernity.
Michele Thursz Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York, 2005
"We pursue modernity in her incessant metamorphoses yet we never manage to trap her. She always escapes: each encounter ends in flight. We embrace her and she disappears immediately: it was just a little air. It is the instant, that bird that is everywhere and nowhere. We want to trap it alive but it flaps its wings and vanishes in the form of a handful of syllables. We are left empty-handed. Then the doors of perception open slightly and the other time appears, the real one we were searching for without knowing it: the present, the presence." Octavio Paz, Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1990, (Translation) In Search of the Present
only in german
Pattern: Modernism As Mediator
Kurator: Michele Thursz
mit Gulcin Aksoy, Inci Eviner, Tal Hadad, Ekrem Yalcindag, Nalan Yirtmac