Exercises Between Politics And Art

Istanbul, 2008

Exercises between politics and art

Exercise Moves, Position # 1 attention !
Exercise, contains integrated works that are formed by different mediums coming together, completing each other. The exhibition was envisioned a year prior to its opening day and to containted by the selected works of the artist is an appopriate decision, which was made on the opening date of Hafriyat Karaköy on the 1st of May.The spectator is faced with the idea of ‘’no exit/ resistance’’ standing infront of the entrace that is covered with sandbags. That idea is also relevant with the openning date which is the 1st of May.

Position # 2 file off..

After coming down the stairs of Hafriyat, which gives the impression of going underground, to see the ground covered with soil and the walls painted black, makes the installation even more effective. The women barried to the ground, ready to be stoned to death, is sure of the strength of her helmet and with a nearly mocking smile / smirk? on her face… The art-work that is the namesake of the exhibiton, mocks our societies’ approach to gender, with the ironc use of the helmet of the American football as a shelter. The exercise of ‘’stoning’’ a woman, indicates the performativeness the paranoia of islamic law and the acts of violence, rape and humiliation. In this work takes up a conceptual meanning by being a critical discourse. The irony of this work extends to the whole exhbition and grabs the viewer inside of its’ rhythm. This rythm is also evident in works such as ‘’larım ‘’(1), ‘lollypop’’, ‘’ three eyebrows, three eyelashes, three nails’’ and ‘’301’’ (2). In this rhythm, the issues of the competence of the government and its resistance take the higher vocal in the video ‘’Bonus’’. The act that this video is placed behind the sand bags is site-specific, just like the work ‘’Exercise’’. In ‘’Bonus’’, the roles of the riot police, disordered manoeuvre, slogans have been integrated to make a harsh and chaotic discourse.

Arguably the most modest work, among the others in the exhibition is ‘’Sunshine’’, which resembles a ray of light at the center of the exhibition. It is placed at an equal distance to its’ surroundings, at the middle flour of the venue. The figurine, sitting on top of a pile of sand, can be read as an autoportrait of Tuna’s. It can be read as his way of saying ‘’This is where I stand, while these things are hapenning around me’’. This work is one of the most personal ones that sums up the refined discourse of Tuna’s reaction. The work takes up another dimension with it’s audio placement that has the megaphone in the right places, both visually and functionally. The work consists the audio works of the artists’ myspace page(3) The tense beats of Strausspart 1 and the mellow sounds from the seashore, are the melodies that completes ‘’Sunshine’’. The different mediums: music, graphic art, installation,photograph and video come together in harmony, complementing eachother. Like Erden Kosova wrote in the text of the exhibition: ‘’ (Buraya Erden Kosova’nın yazısından alıntı yazılacak ) – çevirisi henüz bende yok ☺’’(4) the saying of critical forms: the three crescents in the form of a flag, the similarity the 501 of Levi’s to 301, the dizzying ‘’Apprehension’’ (Vesvese) portraits, make up a visual discourse by being placed together inorganically. The critical stand the exhibition makes is not only a universal declaration by reminding a very specefic day , but also a subjective form. On the other hand, the exhibition also has a very personal side, as it includes the three autoportraits of the artist. On this context, the placements of the figurin in Sunshine and the autoportraits Vesvese and ..larım is crucial. On a personl note, it is important to stress that Tuna has different production techniques both as an artist and a graphic designer. To give an example, ‘’The Table’’ – which is designed personally by the artist is in a way a confession of his sins of making a commercial design object and also has an effective role by bringing a new approach to the contemporary art discipline. Just like Hafriyat artists have designed their own exhibition in the opening of the venue Hafriyat-Karaköy, Tuna has included “Table” to the exhibition. Going back to the artist/graphic desinger duality, we see that the only exercise that gives an emphasis to his graphic designer history is to give a star on a flag , the role of a hole puncher.

Despite the soutness ofthe wide white wall it is exhibited on, the hole puncher keeps it’s A4 frame, which is like an homage to the graphic products that are fabricated and produced in a serie. The fact that the colors red and white exclude everything else that shares their space, only maked the hole punchers’ haste more effective.

Probably the most up tempo work of the exhibition is the “ ..larım” which is the artist’s autoportrait printed on a gigantic cloth poster. The dialogue made by the opposite placement of the poster and “ lollypop “ makes the tempo faster. The poster’s in-your-face attitude contrasts with the minimalism of “ 301 “ and hole puncher placed upstairs. ” Strauss I ” (5) represents a probably spontenous asymmetrical harmony of the up&down beats.

Position # 3 at ease !

The exhibition as a whole, is a reflexive and reaction reply to the violence happening on the streets on the opening day; however it is certainly not a quick response that can be consumed instantly. This attitude, that will make the exhibition striking and long lasting, is evident in every work at the exhibition. The unity of the refined sense of humour and the harsh criticism is adequate to render the exhibition as striking and succesful at making deliberate distances(6) between the audience. The exhibition, which produces a criticism of nationalism and autocracy within itself- is also resembling a sort of duality; clarity and directness that communicate with the audience directly and never bore them.

Two years prior to this exhibition the artist found a way into the subject of nationalism, by the fanaticism of football in his work “ play with me “ , took place in K2 Contemporary Art Center, where he showed the world-cup matches on two tc screens, while two people played the same match simultaneously on playstation2. In this exhibition, the artist turns his ‘game’ into exercise offerings and makes the most distinctive representation of his work of a decade in his first personal exhibition in Turkey, by using the most appropriate circumsyances of timing and shape (form?). While trying to stay in shape by exercising, he proves how to be succesful by using retoric between art and politics. This essay,which intends to give an idea to someone who hasn’t had the chance to view the exhibition, is also an exercise for me(7).

1- “..larım” is half word of “ i lick “ in Turkish.

2- “ 301 “ refers to Turkish criminal code for judging the ones who are considers as humiliating Turkish republic, the hegemony of government and the nation’s dominance.

3- http://www.myspace.com/muzikmibu

4- Quatation from the exhibition text by Erden Kosova.

5- Strausspart I is a sound work by Vahit Tuna.

6- Deliberate distance is the translation of Vahit Tuna’s blog. See, http://temkinlimesafe.blogspot.com

7- This text has been writing as listening one of artist’s sound-work “ Egri “.

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