Interview: Arda Yalkın
The title of your exhibition is Everything is Awesome, yet the works on display are rather dark. What inspired this contrast?“You’re right, the exhibition did end up being somewhat dark. Everything is Awesome is actually a popular hashtag on social media. In this show, I focus on the pornography of consumption and the iconography of the modern-day middle class. As it happens, capitalism is sounding alarm signals all over the world, but the situation is much more cataclysmic in countries like ours, where the most kitsch versions of capitalism are experienced. We’re surrounded by violence, death, dishonesty, homophobia, ignorance and a lack of empathy. Despite all this, social media – which is, in a sense, our tool of personal communication – there’s a constant state of pseudo happiness and ecstasy. This paradox really intrigues me. I should also clarify that I certainly don’t consider myself cut off from this madness. What we’re experiencing is collective hysteria.” Could you tell us about the works on display?“Two video installations make up the biggest part of the exhibition. The first of these is my Rorschach Project, which focuses on the improvisational music created by four musicians – who were theretofore unaware of each other’s participation – upon viewing an animation they saw for the first time in their lives. I layered these separate sounds in a four-minute, five-channel video. The video premiered last August in a show hosted by Gaia Gallery at the 12thInternational
Interview: Meriç Öner
This is the second ’80s-centric show at SALT after last year’s How did we get here. Why the focus on the ’80s?“These exhibitions are organized as part of a five-year program by the L’Internationale museum confederation, of which SALT is a member. How did we get here focused on social and cultural turning points in Turkey during the ’80s, while this show takes a look at production trends in Turkey between 1955 and 1995, with a focus on the ’80s.” Why the era from 1955 to 1995?“When we looked at the increase in consumer products, we saw that the trend wasn’t limited to the ’80s, so we decided to go as far back as 1955. There are a few different components to the exhibition, but the one that best accommodates systematic research is industry. Industrial production in Turkey started in 1955, yet due to the country’s economic policies, specifically the quota on foreign currency and the limited import/export opportunities, it developed very slowly – yet it was always there as a substratum of sorts. As a result of the new economic policies in the ’80s, which encouraged an increase in production and exports, there was an intense focus on ideas that lay dormant since 1955. After the Customs Union was implemented in 1995, imported products became much more accessible in Turkey – which delivered somewhat of a blow to producers, as it meant they had to compete internationally from within the country.” Why did you focus on objects?“Our aim was to demonstrate how the atmosphere of product
Interview: Selen Ansen
How did you decide to put together an exhibition devoted to the idea of falling?“It was a topic I thought and wrote about a great deal, something I considered from a philosophical point of view. I pondered about the linguistic role that ‘falling’ plays as well as both its meaning in our lives and the worthlessness it signifies. Turkish isn’t my native language, so I approached the concept of falling by concentrating on French expressions in which it has a negative connotation. By contrast, ‘falling’ sometimes has a positive meaning in English, as in the phrase ‘falling in love’ – yet even here we’re talking about a fall that’s acceptable so long as you don’t ‘lose your mind.’” To whom or what does the title of the exhibition refer with the phrase “all that fall”?“We approach the acts of rising and falling as polar opposites that indicate up and down. According to the anthropocentric point of view, civilization is built on verticality. I wanted to challenge this issue of verticality by playing with pre-established boundaries and incorporating horizontality. I, too, have fallen and continue to fall; it is thanks to those experiences that I put together this show. I wanted to tackle ‘falling’ not as a phenomenon that only involves the body or material things but in a setting where intangible things also fall.” In the show you touch upon a desire of falling. Is falling something that can be craved?“According to Bas Jan Ader – whose works are shown in the exhibition – ‘falling’
Must-see art exhibitions in Istanbul
The Sakıp Sabancı Museum's new show brings together an astonishing selection of 1000 works that pay tribute to the life and art of Feyhaman Duran, who left his homeland in 1911, during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, to study painting in Paris under the influence of Impressionist painters. In addition to paintings by Duran, the selection also includes a life-sized replica of the home he shared with his wife Güzin Duran, who was also a painter. You’ll also get to see replicas of both artists’ studios, complete with their old paintbrushes and palettes.