Artists from diverse worlds come together at Siemens Art Gallery

Published 25.10.2010 10:26

International artists coming from diverse cultures are currently showcasing their work in a show titled “Other Worlds,” which offers a new definition of modernity at the Siemens Art Gallery in İstanbul's Fındıklı neighborhood.

Globalization attempted to homogenize everyone, but, at the same time, caused deep alienation and isolation in the world, says one of the show's curators, Mürteza Fidan.

"The content of art can contribute to a new understanding of modernity against this homogenization. Our main issue in this show was to ask what kind of new policies art can suggest. How we are going to find the 'subject' again and reconstruct it? New paradigms will go through culture. Cultural relations will be at the center, and all of this is going to happen in the peripheries," he says, adding that people will witness the emergence of new peripheries outside of Western centers.

The concept of the subject is very important for the show, according to Fidan. "When one individual goes from one cultural environment to another, he or she does not have to be in accordance with the new sphere. The content of the show is built on this. We wanted to have artists from different cultural backgrounds but who also left their initial culture and entered into new ones. How they see themselves in this new culture as a subject was the question on our minds," he emphasizes. They wanted to see how the works of these artists would affect the audience if they weren't necessarily placed into a dialog with each other.

For Fidan, the exhibition is an exercise in the construction of the "subject." "The audience will interact with art pieces from their own cultural background. They would not necessarily have to reconcile with it and, while switching from a piece from a specific culture to another one from another culture, they will experience a rupture. They will themselves become stratified while constructing their own story," he notes.

One video work in the exhibition, titled "R.thinking/dreaming about overpopulation," depicts a performance by artist Rosa El-Hassan, who was born in Syria but currently residing in Budapest, which she has repeated several times since 2001. "Five hundred people in Gaza, including their leader, Yasser Arafat, gave blood for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York in order to express their solidarity with these innocent people," the 44-year-old artist says, adding that they also displayed a very strong image in the media as civilized Muslims, as opposed to the widespread perception of Muslims as terrorists. In 2001 Hassan gave her own blood as a piece of art in Belgrade in the Museum of Contemporary Art, then later in Budapest and Zurich. "In Belgrade 15 artists also joined me, but I also encountered censorship at times. In Germany I was not allowed to make any reference to the event in Palestine, and in Budapest I was not allowed to include the image of Arafat," she explains. The current video, shot by her long-time collaborator Salam Haddad, features her blood donation performance in 2009.

Another artwork by Hassan and Haddad, titled "Dalga," is based on a series of drawings about the way people move from the notion of dogma to notions of affection and solidarity. "It is a lyrical piece showing inner dialogs, and timeless performances together with Hungarian and Roma children," she says. A photograph and installation titled "Our Gift for Iashi" is, in a similar vein, based on dialog between the East and the West. "Iashi is one of the many newly flourishing small places in Romania, and the idea of this work is to travel to different places. The mirror work of this piece is designed specifically for İstanbul," she notes.

Hamburg-based artist Youssef Tabti, of Algerian and French origin, joined the show with several videos and an installation titled "Edvard's Day -- Waiting for a Promised Time," which consists of a multimedia photograph and sound installation on the basis of a literary text of the same title by German author Alexander Hausser. "In cooperation with the writer, I have composed a series of seven photographs which are presented together with a reading of the text," the 42-year-old artist explains, adding that they did not put the photographs on the wall but stacked them on the floor so that the visitors would choose which ones to look at for themselves.

Inspired by Virginia Woolf's famous novel "Orlando," which focuses on issues of gender, Tabti's video titled "Orlando" featuring a portrait of the actress Tonia Christie in which she engages in an internal dialog is also included in the show together with his other videos "H-S. Dear Mom" and "Les Chutes." The former is on the Hamburg-based, handicapped artist Harald Stoffer and the unsent letters he wrote to his mother, and the latter is consists of digital fragments such as video works, music, text and speech from the artist. "In this show, I exhibit videos from different periods, so it is a little bit retrospective. I will showcase my other works at 5533's space in İstanbul in November," he explains.

Budapest-based artist Tamas Oszvald's interactive installation "Private Translocation," on the other hand, is a collaborative work in which he borrowed objects from various artists and people in the artistic world in Turkey and gathered them in the form of a living room. "The person who is lending his important object photographs himself with and without the object, and those photos are also exhibited here," Fidan notes.

"Other Worlds" will run through Nov. 23 at the Siemens Art Gallery in Fındıklı. For more information on the artists, visit www.roza-el-hassan.hu; youssef-tabti.blogspot.com; and www.oszvaldt.hu.

CIHAN

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