Osman Bozkurt

15.09 - 03.11.2018


Osman BozkurtManzaralar #4443 (detay) / Scenes #4443 (detail), 2018, C-Print, kartonpiyer / crown molding, 120x160 cm.

Daire Sanat will host Osman Bozkurt’s exhibition titled ‘UPSIDE DOWN’ featuring his photographs and video installations produced from 2002 to 2018, documenting Istanbul and turning points in our everyday life. The exhibition opens on 15 September 2018.

‘Parallax’ is a term used in physics, and Bozkurt departs from this term in order to place the viewer within a series of everyday life and city landscapes of different perspectives throughout the exhibition, precisely like the change we experience in the place and form of an object depending on the point of observation. In conceptualizing the term, in his book titled The Parallax View (The MIT Press, 2006) as the ‘yet another name for a fundamental antinomy’ (p.4). Slavoj Zizek referred to an insurmountable gap. This chasm that restricted reality was in fact an ‘interval’, a vacuity that within itself hosted potentials of knowledge and action. In Zizek’s terminology, ‘parallax’ is another name for the juxtaposition of two closely-related perspectives that do not allow for an impartial common platform, then, Bozkurt’s works seem to leave us facing the following question: Since, in a polarized society where social antagonism and socio-economic imbalance is constantly increasing, there is no longer a common language, or a common platform, how will we read and interpret the antinomy created by that which cannot be mediated, or cannot be eliminated?

The parallax view proposed by Zizek, like a kind of an ‘upside down world’, orients the look, and perception towards the field of perspectival shifts in order to understand and re-evaluate our social world. Bozkurt constructs an ‘upside down world’ in the gallery space of Daire Sanat and invites us to experience this world. In this world, instances from society in Turkey, polarized in two opposing perspectives to the extent that the possibility of a common platform has disappeared, are seemingly examined via a parallax view, and lives, life styles, ideologies, expectations and desires that would not, under the present circumstances, cross paths, begin in some way to relate to each other.

The term ‘upside down’ has a dual meaning. On the one hand, it points to the terrifying lack of meaning in a world where all values have been emptied of their essence. On the other hand, the term unfurls, head-over-heels, the visual regime of this ‘upside down world’ in order to expose this lack of meaning, it reveals another ‘upside down world’ from within itself. Bozkurt’s ‘inverted’ photographic or filmic material we view in this exhibition could be read as strategic materials that intervene so that we can grasp and put everything in its place. Of course, in this world inverted no gaze is innocent, no viewpoint is transparent, or uninterrupted. Through positional interventions, the artist wants to render visible and perceptible ordinary moments, states and (historical) events that may seem familiar to some of us, and alien to others, he attempts to reveal how, when the vantage point changes, what at first remained unnoticed becomes discernible. Ultimately, since the/our gaze is positional, it is (our) positionalities that are being examined.

Bozkurt divides the gallery space of Daire Sanat into four different rooms, gives a name to each room according to the themes of the works he exhibits and in the form of a timeline, draws attention to political, social and personal breaking points in our recent history. The exhibition, designed with the concept of a-room-within-a-room, reflects the multifaceted and multi-layered reality of Turkey with the logic of a-mirror-within-a-mirror. In the Head Room, where the exhibition begins, we try to understand and interpret to what extent digital technologies have changed not only our method of producing images but also our self-perception, via ‘surplus values’ of selfie-photographs left undeleted on devices by customers in stores selling mobile photos after they took test photographs. In the Silent Room, forms of production and use of sound-and-silence by two different manifestations of public space come into operation: on the one hand, a photographic parade of important political and social events from the 2000s to the present day (rallies, protests, official commemorations, ceremonies etc.), while on the other hand, the increasingly widespread prayer rooms. The Holy Room focuses on the ways in which the flag marks the urban landscape via different viewpoints and identity constructs. In the Glass Room, accompanied by a series of videos, as we look out from the inside of buildings in various cities in Turkey, in fact, the derelict state of our social memory is visualized, and we sense the subtle and fragile links that must be established between the past and the present in order to remember, and make others remember. Finally, Istanbul urban landscapes, placed in large plaster frames in two different points of the exhibition space, depart from a mural tradition, a decorative art popular during the Westernization-period Ottoman architecture that featured still lifes or landscapes, and while on the one hand, problematize the urban (and kitsch) representation of nature, on the other hand render possible a revised view of the aesthetic imagination of modernization in Turkey.

(Text: Nermin Saybaşılı)

(English Translation: Nazım Dikbaş)