EXHIBITION

Mücadelenin Estetiği

EXHIBITION
Mücadelenin Estetiği

Diren Anıl Demir

Diren is a backpacker interdisciplinary artist who follows the guidance of the journeys in his life and artworks, as being impressed by Beat Generation. During his travels, he’s invented an anti-elitist gallery concept in a guerilla way, its called “Art Space Project”. Since Diren started this Project in a village of Fethiye in 2016, more than 30 art spaces have been established. Diren takes these paintings to the next city in his backpack, sets up new street exhibitions and gets new drawings, Art Space Project is an interactive exhibition that works for the accessibility of art and grows constantly. He has also presented an Online Exhibition for everyone else. Diren believes that art happens in everywhere and in every moment. His intention in Art Space Project is to prove that.

As being impressed by the process he had spent in Ancient Greek department at University of İstanbul in 2016, he left the school and hichhiked to the ancient cities and temples. Then he started to study Sculpture at Marmara University Faculty of Fine Arts and Philosophy at the University of İstanbul as a second degree in 2017. Therefore “Paganism” and “reinterpreted ritual” concepts have been evident themes on his artworks. Because of the political situation, most of his artworks are also based on activism and disclosure practices.

In 2018 he designed a project as a solution for disabled people whose can’t able to access to the cultural places and galleries, it’s called ”Non-Barrier Art Map“ which has been chosen 1.st Project of the “Art and Culture” category in HEG social responsibility project competition. İn 2019, his Project ”Produce for Art“ which is based on developing reuned village schools by providing assistance and materials to fine art students whose can not afford their art ideas, has been chosen as the best in “Art and Culture” category again.

His literary works are mostly related to “LGBTİ+ History” and “Art” topics. İn 2018, he translated “S.T.A.R”. (”Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries“, Sub Press) to Turkish. İn 2019 he compiled the book “A Night of June: Biographical Analysis of the Stonewall Riots” (org: “Bir Haziran Gecesi: Stonewall Devriminin Biyografik Çözümlemesi” , Kaos Çocuk Parkı Publishing). In the same year Diren was selected for the artist in residency program conducted between the European Union and Turkey, called “Be Mobile, Create Together”. With the support of the Netherlands Consulate, he produced conceptual performing artworks and photo series at the Rast Theater in Amsterdam. His Artworks met a distinguished audience in the Netherlands.

In 2020, he presented series of seminars about LGBT + history on various of associations and communities and he focused on "Live Art" projects under the roof of Performistanbul. He is one of the participants of the “Contemporary Art and Curatorship” programme carried out in cooperation with the Open Dialogue İstanbul and Akbank Art Center. İn October 2020, he has selected as a participant for “Art Writers” programme carried out by Namanlı Art Center and Netherlands Consulate. Same month he has been awarded by Akbank Art Center with the 38th Akbank Contemporary Artist Prize for his interactive installation “Beyond the Wall”. Since June 2020, he has been presenting his radio show "Wild Side" on Radio Modyan featuring avant-garde/queercore music from LGBTİ + artists on every Sunday night at 10pm. Since January, “Wild Side Zine” has been prepearing to be published.

Mücadelenin Estetiği

To be born, to be educated, to procreate, to pay our taxes and to join the docile bodies living in a drugged contentment…

There is a scenario scripted for every single living organism in order to maintain this flawed system.

The Aesthetics of Struggle brings together the unconventional practices of opposition of those who had woken up from the world of these scenarios written a long time ago, which shape the desires, impulses, truths, bodies, identities and purposes of existence of living organisms who have been living under an overcoding authority, practicing mass manipulation, controlling the flow of desire, and under different forms of masculine and economic violence.

The sum of the works that have come together, stripped of all the earlier forms of struggle and resistance that have existed so far, open the doors to re-evaluate our understanding of struggle. Is the act of struggle a miracle that is expected to appear as a result of a mass explosion, or is it a chain of prohibitions or privileges that starts with the identity of the individual/organism assigned at birth, the geographical location in which he was born, his ethnic origin, the economic status he had acquired by chance, and that continues until the end of his life?

In a period where practices of activism are rather barren, constantly repeated and consumed, but never produced anew; through works of art in which the original and transformative role of struggle comes to the fore, “The Aesthetics of Struggle” aims to expand the repertoire of “activism”, “action”, and “opposition” by way of the forms of expression that art offers. The exhibition itself attempts to intensify the transformative narrative of the artworks on individual/mass, internal/external, micro/macro scales by redesigning the place where the “spectator” is positioned by the artwork. To this end, the exhibition bases its practice on the action of “approach” that John Berger presents as “hope and an act of faith”, and applies this to the space between the work and the audience. According to Berger; “the action of approach [...] will lead to collaborations which deny discontinuity. The act of resistance means not only refusing to accept the absurdity of the world-picture offered us, but denouncing it. And when hell is denounced from within, it ceases to be hell.”

The only distance that needs to be covered in order to close the “distance/gap” between the work and the spectator consists of the factitious judgements, definitions, points of view, positionings and presuppositions that are subsequently attributed to the inner relations of the artist and the spectator with themselves. Once all these are overcome, the artwork, the artist and the spectator have taken a step towards liberation and perceiving their “true identity”. In time, these steps transform the individuals who have constructed reality based on “believing”, into individuals who build their reality on “knowing”. This, precisely, is a situation that goes against the nature of any spectacle created by the domain of power. And on this issue, Jacques Ranciere says, “looking is deemed the opposite of knowing” and he adds, “The spectator is separated from the capacity of knowing just as he is separated from the possibility of acting.”

Nothing that is not real can exist in the face of an audience who have based their reality on “knowing” instead of “believing”, and this is exactly what “The Aesthetics of Struggle” aims to let the viewers find. Much like the positions of power created by means of the passive situation in which the spectacle places the viewer, the exhibition space itself engenders a certain form of power and is transformed into the field of struggle itself. The only way The Aesthetics of Struggle exhibition differs is that it seeks ways to be free from itself.

If the subject realizes that he is asleep, he will come across a deep desire to recognize his own reality. However, it is quite unlikely for the spectator to find this point of desire within a game that was created by the domain of power. While the ultimate outcome of this game that is dependent on power is to put the subject to sleep, it is rendered powerless because of its inherent dependence to power and to the “believing spectator”. On the other hand, “belief”, which forms the basis of the structure of power, is the opposite of knowing, and is doomed to disintegration with the subject’s reinterpretation of his own reality. It is exactly through this new interpretation that the exhibition expects the audience to “kill the exhibition”, to destroy the identity they know and have experienced to be themselves. This exhibition, which wishes to have never existed, brings together a variety of different fields of struggle such as climate, body, gender, consumption, economy, race, species, ethnicity and so forth, as it offers the spectator the possibility of experiencing a realm beyond the typical spectacle. The viewer’s entry into this field of experience occurs in two different ways; the first is the individual drive towards liberation, and the second is the “chained” state of the artworks and forms of struggle as they appear in the exhibition.

The nature of the power relationship between the spectator and the artwork could also be clearly seen in the relationship between authority and society. Therefore, the question “Does a liberated audience liberate the work?” and the question “Can a liberated society dissolve power?” are identical in micro and macro aspects. According to Baudrillard, the first step of liberation is to “chain” things together; “Against all modern superstitions of ‘liberation,’ it must be said that forms are not free, figures are not free. They are on the contrary bound: the only way to liberate them is to chain them together, in other words to find their links, the ties that create and bind them, that chain them gently together. Moreover, they connect and engender themselves, and art has to enter into the intimacy of this process.” For this reason, The Aesthetics of Struggle finds different practices of struggle to be “chain[ed] ... gently together”, and enters into the “intimacy of this process”. These ties that bind the works together are not the utopia of the joyful and happy people of a shared world; they are united through an impulse to free the experience of living from all the flows of desire drawn for them, from identity management, from elements that shape the body, from social role inequalities, and also from the factitious walls of countries that limit the mobility of the body.

The exhibition, which anticipates transformational solutions for our age, also presents a contemporary world-picture, created through an analysis of the cold wars, pandemics, mass uprisings and the numerous phases of turmoil that the world has experienced in recent years. This picture, which is the sum of all the artworks in the show, offers various prophecies about the future based on Winterson’s idea of “Art does not imitate life. Art anticipates life.” In his commentary on Bosch’s painting, “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, John Berger offers seven prophecies that predict the future of the world. According to Berger, “The new order claims to rationalise and modernise production and human endeavour. In reality it is a return to the barbarism of the beginnings of the industrial revolution, with the important difference this time round that the barbarism is unchecked by any opposing ethical consideration or principle.” 

While the presence of docile bodies – attempted to be devised through enforcing restraints on our reflexes of reacting and resisting today – act as an evidence pointing to this; as a continuation of his prophecy, Berger envisions the picture of a system that works on the nation state, on the global racketeers of the giant banks of the world, or on the perception that people who do not produce, do not consume, and do not have money to put in the bank are redundant. However, according to him, these prophecies about the future would never come together to form a meaningful figure; “This lack of sense, this absurdity is endemic to the new order. As Bosch foresaw in his vision of hell, there is no horizon. The world is burning. Every figure is trying to survive by concentrating on his own immediate need and survival.” The world depicted in the exhibition is an assertion of the fact that this system in which we live has reduced our experience of living to merely an existence based on our survival reflex as separate individuals, and it aims to bring some clarity to this meaninglessness particular to the new order and to the long-blocked paths of analysis in a “world [that] is burning.”

Artists & Works

EGEMEN TUNCER

Victory Displaced

Computer-based animation produced with the help of Google Earth 13:18 min 4K / 3D printed sculpture 15x10x3cm

Digital model prepared by Thomas Flynn, Cultural Heritage Consultant at Sketchfab

2019

OMER BEREKDAR

Correction Movement

Photography Series

A5 size printing

2014

ÖMER TEVFİK ERTEN

Guest* House

Photography series

20 pieces

A5 size printing

2019

FURKAN ÖZTEKİN

Last Stop Before the Sun

 Found Objects

35x45

2019

EYMEN AKTEL

Conflict

Installation & Performance

2 Hours

2019

SERVET KOÇYİĞİT

Shake it ‘til it drops

Video
4:05 min

2007

ANNA PARİSİ

An Apology to Elephants

Archival video footage

Voice: Jamie Serow

4:26 min
2019

BURÇAK KONUKMAN

Waiting for Schengen

Guerilla Performance

Photo by: Mathilda An

2017

BURÇAK KONUKMAN

Timeless

06:42 min

Video Performance

2011

İSMET DOĞAN

Mirror

Handmade Convex Mirror

90x60x14 cm

1992-2012

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