EXHIBITION

We Deserved This

EXHIBITION
We Deserved This

Burak Mert Çiloğlugil

Burak Mert Çiloğlugil studied Economics at Yeditepe University and received his master’s degree on Cultural Management from Istanbul Bilgi University. Çiloğlugil worked as financial and internal auditor at Ernst & Young and Borusan Makine ve Güç Sistemleri. He initiated his career in the culture and arts sector at Borusan Contemporary in 2014 and took several positions at the institution; as “Operations Specialist” and “Communications and Events Executive.” He has been working at Borusan Contemporary as “Executive” since 2019.

We Deserved This

For the humankind, being in nature is a crisis in itself. He develops various strategies for survival; sometimes he changes and sometimes he resists.

In both cases, he tries to keep nature under control and to make it predictable.

He also does not want to give up the power he has attained through the techniques and technologies he has developed while doing this. As a result, what emerges is a relationship based on struggle, the balance of which can be disrupted at any moment. And it is sometimes man, sometimes nature who is victorious in this struggle.

The exhibition, We Deserved This, offers the audience a chance to experience the situation of crisis – a natural part of the cycle of life – “in the form of a process”, and attempts to present a different perspective on the concept of crisis. To this end, it focuses on the process of the pandemic that we are experiencing today. It aims to develop new perspectives on the subject from the vantage point of society and politics, and to offer new propositions concerning the contentious relationship between man and nature. In the face of the images presented by the mass media, which act as “fear arousing elements”2 that end up pacifying individuals, in these days when the pains of constructing a new life order are experienced, the exhibition draws attention to the necessity of reckoning with past habits and established systems.

In terms of its etymology, the word “crisis” is derived from the Greek words krinein, meaning to decide, and krisis, meaning decision, and was later transferred into Latin as crisis, and gained a meaning that corresponds to the acts of separating, deciding, judging. Over time, this meaning acquired a different context and became a medical term that described the “decisive point in the progress of a disease”3. However, after its transfer into modern languages, the word almost lost all its medical emphasis, and was placed after certain words that we often use in daily life, providing these words with a sense of chaos, confusion, an undesirable or worrying situation. It is precisely because of this reason that the meaning of a “critical decisive point” that the word contains is often overlooked.

When the Covid-19 epidemic, which led humanity into a new realm of struggle, first appeared in China, because of the geographical distance, many countries around the world adopted a cautious but collected stance in the face of these events. However, while the social, political and economic ties, deeply connected to one another by the internet network, elevated the sense of panic to a global scale, especially the increased frequency of air transport also caused the virus to spread rapidly to numerous parts of the world and rather quickly transformed the situation into a pandemic. Because of the rapidly rising mortality rates all around the world, this new type of virus, which caused serious reactions in the human metabolism, left its mark on an important turning point in history by creating a speculative agenda regarding its spread and course.

The impression that this epidemic was affecting all individuals in a way that could be deemed “egalitarian”, regardless of their economic, socio-political or demographical status, as was the case with the great epidemics of the past (Black Plague, Spanish Flu), left its place to a feeling of “inequality” because of the limited resources in the processes of diagnosis and treatment that have been carried out since the early stages of the pandemic, as well as during the ongoing vaccination procedures, and as such, the other side of the coin was revealed once again.

In this context, crises also indicate a political and economic issue. The deepening of the degrees of social stratification and the social segregation between the classes causes lower income classes to be affected more by the crisis, and this asymmetrical situation leads to social unrest.4 Whether it is an economic, political or social crisis that affects the masses, or one that is experienced on an individual scale, it is evident that the entire process of crisis should be evaluated as a mechanism of action-reaction.

The normalization of the unjust distribution of income, which manifested itself in all clarity during this process, draws attention to the masses’ tendency to “overlook”. And this submissive passivity feeds on “fear”. Especially in situations that do not pose a threat to the individual, the distance constructed by the tools of social media between the individual and the event impedes reaching that critical moment of change.

Expressing that art relates visually to certain events in history, Ali Artun says that “if plague could be defined as ‘the art of death’, then leprosy could be defined as ‘the art of ugliness’”.5 In line with Artun’s interpretation, the works included in the exhibition bear visual traces of the extraordinary period in which they were produced, but they do not just show the palpable. At the same time, they distinguish themself by offering a proposal against the current situation, and they explore the individual efforts’ benefits on the collective. Thus, the works in the exhibition allow the responses such as fear, withdrawal, rejection and struggle, that are brought about by the crisis, to be experienced by the viewer in the sheltered area of the gallery space, and they make a plea for reaching the critical decisive point that would initiate the process of recovery.

At the entrance of the exhibition space, the audience is greeted by the sculpture of Tuğberk Selçuk. The porcelain plates stacked on top of one another appear susceptible to damage. This state of fragility creates a tension as you move around the sculpture. Ali Şentürk’s installation, which he reinterpreted for the floor of the exhibition space, involves references to the individual’s instinct of completing what’s missing and righting the wrong. Cengiz Tekin’s photograph, which could be read on multiple levels, stands out with its humorous aspect at first glance. As we wander through its layers, it initiates a broad discussion, covering issues ranging from rapid urbanization and gentrification policies to the immigration crisis. Erkan Özgen’s video conveys the most problematic phenomenon of human history, war, through the experience of a speech-impaired child. On the other hand, in the video by Erinç Seymen and son:DA, our attention is drawn to the use of sound as an instrument of fear and to the manipulation of the masses. Meanwhile, Ali Demirel documents how the tranquility created by the measures of isolation implemented because of the pandemic has changed the face of global cities.

Artists & Works

GÜLER GÜÇLÜ

ERİNÇ SEYMEN & SON:DA

ALİ DEMİREL

TUĞBERK SELÇUK

CENGİZ TEKİN

ALİ ŞENTÜRK

ERKAN ÖZGEN

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