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Berat Işık – Are You Still Alive?
05/11/2016 @ 11:00 - 11/12/2016 @ 17:00
5 November – 11 December 2016
Curator: Işın Önol
Berat Işık’s solo exhibition Are You Still Alive?consists of works that the artist produced, completed or revised during 2015 and 2016 specifically for this exhibition. Inspired by the Japanese conceptual artist On Kawara’s work “I am Still Alive”, which involves 900 telegrams sent to colleagues and friends, the title refers to the city of Diyarbakır and its hinterland, and the lack of communication between those inhabiting it and the rest of the world.
Throughout the process of preparing the exhibition over the course of the last two years, the living conditions in Diyarbakır have changed drastically and incessantly. These changes had a strong impact on the production of the works, and a number of drastic events transformed the outcomes: The curfew that started after 6-7 October 2014 clashes, during which tens of people lost their lives, the assassination of human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi, incessant clashes, constant sound of explosions and gunfire, the attempt of a military coup d’état, the imposition of the state of emergency, the laying off of thousands of teachers. These and many other factors affected life in the city directly, and at the same time the process of preparing this exhibition.
The exhibition title also refers to a work the artist had planned to produce together with inmates of Diyarbakır Prison. Cancelled due to the state of emergency, the project was completed by a crafts instructor in Istanbul, using a peculiar handicraft technique known as philographythat is often used by prisoners in the region. An unknown inquirer poses an ambiguous question, one that so often appears in peoples’ minds after yet another explosion has taken place: By being led to think about his or her beloved ones, the beholder is induced to share that deep feeling of insecurity so painfully familiar to the people of the Diyarbakır region, both inside and outside of prisons.
Three video works titled “Dream”, “Press” and “We Are Almost There” create a language from an abstract expression – inspired by John Cage’s renowned work “4’33””– to be able to convey the impact of political oppression on language and speech. The object and sound installation “103” reprocesses the restlessness and insecurity that has become the most common sensation in and around Diyarbakır. The work “Perfect Lovers”, citing Felix Gonzales-Torres’ “Untitled (Perfect Lovers)” (1987-1990), cruelly stabs a knife into the hope of coexistence in synchrony.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, a documentary film, offers a glimpse at an experience the artist made thirty years ago. The documentary “Oasis”, that has been shown at a number of film festivals, approaches a life story in the context of environmental policy.
In the videos and installations at Are You Still Alive? Berat Işık attempts to convey the very affect invoked rather than merely representing an incident and deals with the notions associated with power relations through timeless and metaphorical language.
Berat Işık’tan “Ne Ölen Ne Yaşayan”lara…
ASIL SİZ HAYATTA MISINIZ BERAT IŞIK!
Diyarbakır: ‘Hâlâ hayatta mısınız?’