EXHIBITION

Sublime Mediocracy

EXHIBITION
Sublime Mediocracy

Eşref Alemdar

Eshref Alemdar was born in 1969 in Adapazarı. He graduated from Istanbul Yıldız Technical University Mechanical Engineering Faculty in 1992. After graduation, he worked as a Mechanical Design Engineer in the construction industry in Turkey. He moved to LA and worked in design, engineering, and project management on international projects in Dubai and Qatar. He continued his engineering and project management studies in Nairobi and Shanghai. He is a certified Project Manager by PMI. He returned to Turkey in 2015 and continued his career in the construction industry. 

His debut novel "The Children of the Purgatory" published in 2010.  "In the Gardens of Madness" published in 2015.

He started his studies in contemporary art at the Yıldız Technical University in 1987.  He particularly focused on art history and philosophy. He took art history lessons from Tomur Atagök for 4 years. 

He also took textile design. 

Eshref Alemdar started his curatorial studies 3 years ago and completed Akbank Sanat's Contemporary Art and Curatorial Program in 2021.

He has his blog. www.esrefalemdar.com

Sublime Mediocracy

Ordinaryiza – tion Demeritize – tion Lumpenize – tion Mediocritize – tion

Suburbanize – tion
Vulgarize – tion
Commonize – tion
Ordinary - ization
Chav(ize) – tion

J. G. Ballard who is one of the prophetic writers of the post-modern era once pointed out that, in the second half of the 20th century, science fiction should not be sought in distant galaxies and in the years with four zeros because science fiction is already at the centre of our lives that this new strange life would shatter the set of primary values of humanity.

The future is going to be boring. The suburbanisation of the planet will continue, and the suburbanisation of the soul will follow soon after.

J.G.Ballard

Ballard was talking about a paradigm shift. According to him, the lack of infrastructure, transportation difficulties, crowded city centres, high unemployment and crime rates, prevalence of drug use in all suburbs and slums around the world, including the USA, were the sources of individual and social pathologies that would emerge in the liberal economic society in the post-modern era. 

Ballard imagined a more pathological "Spectacle Society" than his contemporary Guy Debord envisioned. He considered that, moving away from primary human values would continue with the momentum of accelerated new technology. Eventually it would drag mass people into new existential crises. The inquiring individual of this new world would feel as if he had had a brain fever and opened his eyes in a completely different realm. Since this new world would be entirely skewed, a nightmarish quality and surreality would be the general character. Fiction would take the place of truth in this “turned upside down world”. Ballard thought that the ultimate customer society (which is our dream) would lead us into a dystopian world. One more time, as all the dreams of humanity come true, this too would lay an uncomfortable feeling of emptiness in our souls.

Ideals, beliefs and ideologies is no longer exist in the postmodern world. The inhabitants of this ecosystem is overwhelmed by the "ism”s and already dumped them on waste yard of history. “Ism”s are replaced by fetishism of commodities that nurture a show off culture. Everyone loves to show off whatever they have or possess for the sake of showing off. Ballard's empty souls now are feeling full and complete in this way and keep a cycle of fill-and-dump with the ephemeral materials they have. This fill-and-dump state somehow is sustainable and keep the economy in a life cycle. Thus, Debord's spectacle society became a perpetual motion machine in the postmodern era! 

With the spread of globalization, a uniform lifestyle over consumption prevailed the societies and pumped out by mass media to overrule. Attractive fitness centres, advertised plastic surgeries, chic concept stores, famous restaurants, stylish houses and apartments, sexy bodies, seductive faces, horny stars and many more became our desire objects; the spectacles to show off and to display…

Brand and style are our new idols. Social media is the most popular medium where all this happens. In a virtual world, where fictitious and imaginary lives are exhibited, "displaying" and "living merely for displaying" have reached the top with the magical effect of materiality on people. In parallel, “living in the moment” (or carpe diem) motto kept people away from thinking of the future and the past driving them only to the enjoyment of now. Nowness is a new holy brand.

 Inquiring is not good for human beings anymore because it may cause anxiety disorders! It makes people sick! However, despite the advice to live in the moment, the people still feel empty. So the consumer society is given new name; "therapy society". In this course, a new sector called "personal development" helped poor people to adapt themselves to the new order. Internet, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robotic technologies accelerated the anxieties. Now we are on the edge of interfering our own bodies to combine with machines and to produce a totally different culture. Current technologies are quite different from the former ones; even the thermonuclear technologies which are considered most subversive ones. Up to the 21st Century, we always have predicted the effects of the technology on us but now we definitely do not know where the technology would drag us! No necessary that science fiction would related with distant galaxies in a distant future, it is here with us in our lives.

We are in the middle of a strange utopian life as Ballard mentioned that mediocrity became normal and souls are already suburbanized. With the glorification of relativity, the absurdity of mediocrity outshined and it is not odd anymore. Moreover the lumpen and vulgar are being exalted, and this does not surprise anyone anymore. A baseless self-confidence is enough to be influencial. 

It is obvious that trendsetters and preferences of producers dictates what we like, how we live. This is the age of manipulation and post truth. As the marketability of the being subtle and deep, ethical, moral, intellectual is low, all of them are pushed aside or away from the eyes. They are scorned. They are not even worthy of any attention. Media is being used to create fictitious hyper realities. The deliberate relativization of things makes the truth distorted. While the values and norms reductive, boring, monotonous and somehow unqualified in these new coordinates, the internet serves as an environment for mostly misinformation and manipulations. 

In the midst of all this deterioration, the “chav/poshlust/philistine” reappears as a figure that we come across many times in history. The chav/poshlust/philistine with her/his baseless self-confidence is able to be famous, influencer or powerful within the dominant environment of mediocrity. Even though it is banal, fake or knockooff it can be easily replaced with the real one. The philistine can reach very important places in society and can attract large crowds and become a center of power and attraction. There are many personal fictitious lives in this post truth environment. Particularly social media channels serves good for personal exaltation of delusionals. The new referenceless, normless environment of the postmodernity allows the individual to be in the center of everything, regardless of their qualities. With the motto " There's No Such Thing as Bad Publicity', nowadays stardom is granted whoever wishes for, as Warhol mentioned. The new Ballardian life makes the sublime banality possible.

The subject of banality and this kind of corruption have occupied the intelligentsia of Russia in the past and today. This character was seen in Russia in various periods of history that a person who is guided by materialism and is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values. Nabokov, Dostoyevsky, and Gogol found peculiar this character to their own culture and underlined that it is not found in the West. This person called "poshlost" in Russian. Writer and thinker Alev Alatlı says that poshlost, which also draws the attention of the West, is related to the "mediocrity" that has emerged today. According to Nabokov, 

"poshlost is not only the obviously trashy but also the falsely important, the falsely beautiful, the falsely clever, the falsely attractive. By describing something as 'poshlost', we pass not only an aesthetic but also a moral judgment. Everything that is true, honest, beautiful cannot be described as poshlost. 

According to Alatlı, 

“philistinism is “cosmology without astronomy, technology without mathematics, environmentalism without biology, music without musical notes and politics without history”.

So, the exhibition focuses on all those mentioned mediocre people and mediocrity, the normalization of mediocrity and the ability of the mediocre people to declare themselves as supreme. The reverberations of the exaltation of banality and vulgarity,  its effect on society and people; the indifference of mediocre people to what is going on around and in the world, their tend to the material and enjoyment, their bad tastes, falsity, absurdity, ridiculous bravery and delusions are handled in the exhibition. 

What the mediocrity is, where it stands in our daily life, how it affects the society
all are presented to the visitors via the works of artists who float in the folds of the mediocre minds.

Art can be an agent to understand such a current shallowness and help to explore its dynamics. Through art, we can inquire how there can be another world instead of an upside down one which lost its all references and norms in a warped reality. 

Sure life is more beautiful when it gets a quality embellished with finesse. This "new" world created by shallow minds is the real unreal world.

There is a better world can be built up.

*J.G.Ballard – ( 1930 – 2009):  Author

* Guy Debord – (1931 – 1994): 

Situationist, Author

*Alev Alatlı – (1944- …) Author, Intellectual

*Vladimir Nabokov – (1899 – 1977) Author, Intellectual

Artists & Works

Gülçin Aksoy

Seat Error on Table

2007

Quilted, concrete, bronze,

180x160 cm

Numan Okutan

In An Ordinary Day

2020

80 x 100 Oil on canvas

Numan Okutan

Selfie

2020

70 x 100 Oil on canvas

Numan Okutan

Alkııııışşş, ….

Video

Özgür Demirci

From the Silver Screen to Soccer Field

2016 

Video Installation – Full HD – Color – Sound, 9’24” 



Özgür Demirci

Şahin Posing as Doğan

2011

Video Installation – Full HD – Color – Sound  2’30” 



Özgür Demirci

Split Screen

2014

Video Installation – Full HD – Color – Sound  19’44” 



Rafet Arslan

3rd World War Resistance Circus

2020

5 pieces, UV print on canvas, 42 x 29 cm

Tan Tolga Demirci

Episches Theater

Analog printing, exposure to photo paper

60 X 40 cm

Digital photographic collage 



Tan Tolga Demirci

The Casual Life Of Olga Z.

Analog printing, exposure to photo paper

65 X 43 cm

Digital photographic collage 

Tan Tolga Demirci

Christmas Brunch at Saint Roch

Analog printing, exposure to photo paper

65 X 40 cm

Digital photographic collage 



Tan Tolga Demirci

Melancholia

Analog printing, exposure to photo paper

60 X 43 cm

Digital photographic collage 



Tan Tolga Demirci

Somewhere In Time II

Analog printing, exposure to photo paper

58 X 35 cm

Digital photographic collage 



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