November 6. - December 18. 2004
Köken Ergun - Berat
Isik - Ahmet Ögüt - Erkan Özgen - Serkan Özkaya
- Sener Özmen
Curated by Vasif Kortun*
A conversation with Vasif Kortun will be held at Sparwasser HQ on December 17.
from the opening on November 5.
PLACEBO EFFECT works:
Placebo Effect is an exhibition of artists from Turkey.
The Video program "ABES,"** underscores a trauma that transfers itself to times of post-trauma. These short films, rough and sharp on their edges, register a sense of loss and radical behavior. A young man tries to pull himself from a ruin, panting, only to find himself in there again; a man is spot-searched on a desolate country road; young kids in black ski masks occupy a playground in a rough neighborhood and engage in games that recall military training; a man with an erotic spraying device puts gasoline to the border and fires it up; two girls lip-synch to an essentialist song and are battered as the song goes on...
A reinvented children's coloring book by Ahmet Ögüt and Sener Özmen engages the complex realities of engrained customs, planetary media influences, hybrid presence, security forces, fundamentalists, and zoophiliacs, in a few pages.
Ahmet Ögüt and Serkan Özkaya's sculpture represents the punch line of a crass, juvenile joke, frozen, ad infinitum, in the shape of a faux-monument.
In Köken Ergun's video projection, a young man tries to cover his head with a scarf that is suggestive of the Turkish flag. Elegant and effete, he tries various versions until the exercise begins to collapse. He breaks into gentle tears over his failure to look to his liking.
The emptiness of the work THE TURKISH MONUMENT THAT CARRIES ELEVEN WATERMELONS, a thing that conceals its deficit, and that is reflected in the great void of what the joke rotates upon (the penis), led me to name the exhibition the Placebo Effect. It may as well have been a false promise and a late promise, had it not been for the impossible promise that is conscious of its own incongruence. This is a show of men, and I think it shows.
*Vasif Kortun is director of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center Istanbul.
**ABES (A hmet, B erat, E rkan, S ener), a term which means "ridiculous," was coined by Sener Özmen to describe the density of artists from Diyarbakir, Turkey's largest Kurdish city. The term emphasizes commonalties of approach and not the regional geography of ethnicity. This is not to say, however, that issues of geography and ethnicity do not motivate these artists.
Platform Garanti Contemporary
Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center was initiated in September 2001. Located in Beyoglu, the most vibrant part of Istanbul, Platform acts as a central meeting point in the city for cultural exchange between contemporary artists, curators, and critics. The building contains: an artist archive, research and lecture spaces, the Istanbul Residency Program (open to international contemporary visual artists, critics, and curators of contemporary art), and, on street level, a gallery committed to exhibiting contemporary art from Turkey and abroad.
In March 2004 Vasif
Kortun invited Sparwasser HQ to transfer our activities
from Berlin to Platform in Istanbul. For us, the
"Placebo Effect" exhibition in Berlin is an important
opportunity to expand our knowledge of artists working in Turkey
and an opportunity to consolidate the network initiated in March.
Please see press release "Sparwasser HQ at Platform."