"The Stones Talk" brings together 71 objects, archaeological artefacts that Asli Cavusoglu reconstructed by using various materials. In "Yet Another Story About the Fall" Fatma Bucak presents new and recent video. John Cage and Sarkis found inspiration in the famous Ryoanji Zen garden (Japan) that led to the creation of the 3 works included in this show.
The Stones Talk
Curator Özge Ersoy
"The Stones Talk" brings together 71 objects, archaeological artefacts that the artist reconstructed by using various materials.
The archaeological artefacts selected for the exhibition were discovered at various excavation sites in Turkey, yet subjected to a particular classification system and deemed unworthy of exhibition. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey classifies such pieces as "study pieces". According to paragraph c, Article 3 of the Regulation on Classification, Registration and Acceptance to Museums of Movable Cultural and Natural Heritage Requiring Protection, study pieces are defined as "the group of protected artefacts, under Law No 2863 on Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, which are not qualified for entry in the Artefacts Inventory Log but rather suitable for scientific studies". These pieces are considered deficient, formless or insignificant, as they do not seem to provide an idea about the whole they might have been part of. They are often either kept in museum storages, or forwarded to the relevant departments of universities for scientific research.
For this exhibition, Aslı Çavuşoğlu produced copies of a selection of 71 study pieces. While producing the copies, she used their original materials such as wood, bronze, glass, iron, mosaic or ceramic. The artist then completed these pieces into new "wholes", reconstructing them with a diverse range of materials including ceramic, rubber, epoxy, plexiglass, felt, volcanic rock, leather, and foam.
For the installation, Çavuşoğlu designed pedestals, using high-density foam, wood, and rubber. The objects in the exhibition are randomly numbered from 1 to 71. This numbering does not refer to any thematic, chronological or geographical classification.
The exhibition explores the potential of forming narratives with archaeological and historical information and telling pluralistic stories through objects.
Yet Another Story About the Fall
Curator Başak Doğa Temür
"Yet Another Story About the Fall" is Fatma Bucak's first solo exhibition in Turkey and presents new works by the artist along with a selection of her recent works (2012 and 2013). "The Fall" is a concept of central importance in the artist's production. Bucak problematises gender- and identity-based discrimination in her works, and revisits creation myths that regard man as superior to woman, therefore going back to the very beginning, the fall of man from heaven to earth.
Bucak produced a new two-channel video installation especially for the exhibition at ARTER. Shot at Tuz Gölü (the salt lake in Central Anatolia), the part entitled "And then God blessed them" brings together the female and male archetypes in a harsh and timeless part of nature for yet another confrontation. As in many of her other works, she includes her own body in this performance as an anonymous female figure, and is accompanied by a family member: her brother.
In the second part entitled "Suggested place for you to see it", we see a group of women Bucak invited to take part in her work as "viewers". The comments of these 13 women become a performance in itself. Their real-time reactions meet the possible comments of the viewers in the exhibition space; and in this manner the installation proposes a contemplation on the position of the viewer in front of a work of art, and our ways of interpreting art.
In her works, Fatma Bucak records actions she performs in meticulously designed settings in their entirety. These works, in which she simultaneously engages photography, video and performance, often deploy universal symbols (like in the reference here to The Last Supper which is assigned via the number of viewers). In this manner, Bucak reverses and re-enacts myths, religious parables and autobiographical narratives. The broken loaf of bread, which the artist then tries to sew back in "Blessed are you who come – Solida Fundamenta" recalls the effort two different communities of the same land make to remain together, whereas the egg in the video "I was not able to prevent the fall" gives an uncanny sense about what is about to happen.
In the work entitled "Omne Vivum Ex Ovo – Nomologically possible, anyhow", installed at the entrance of the exhibition space, eggs are now being placed in concrete blocks. This 13-screen installation, first exhibited as a 5-screen installation in London at the Catlin Art Prize exhibition in 2013, and redesigned with the addition of music for the exhibition at ARTER, returns to the themes of birth and hope associated with the image of the egg this time in association with urbanisation. Videos at once both appearing and disappearing on the screens, point at an action with no clear beginning or end: a woman is constantly placing eggs in the holes of countless concrete blocks. Is she doing this so they can mature in their concrete nests and hatch when the time is right? Can life really emerge in this sullen landscape? And if it were to, what kind of creatures would step out from these eggs?
Here, this manmade landscape encounters one of the endless, moving natural landscapes Fatma Bucak often uses in her works. In the video entitled "Four Ages of Woman – Fall", the female figure is now surrounded by a piece of nature covered in scarlet earth and rocks, throwing rocks at an invisible enemy. As if she has suddenly decided to emerge after the struggle she has put up in this surreal place, she chooses to knock over the huge rock in front of her, to be born, and to initiate her own story.
Interpretation of Cage / Ryoanji
Albeit many years apart, John Cage and Sarkis found inspiration in the famous Ryoanji Zen garden (Japan) that led to the creation of the three works included in this exhibition. Sarkis' first encounter with the solo flute score of Cage's Ryoanji inspired him as if this were "the dance of lines on a blank paper and of calligraphy" which he trailed with his fingerprints culminating in 96 watercolours entitled "Partition de flûte Ryoanji / Cage selon Sarkis" [Cage, Ryoanji, flute partition according to Sarkis].
Upon entering the third floor gallery of ARTER, the viewer will encounter these soothing waves constituting the main work in the exhibition, while the other two works, plans of the Zen garden, entitled "Ryoanji interpretation opus n°2, Kyoto", 2012, and "D'après Ryoanji" [After Ryoanji], 2012 flank the centrepiece at each end of the gallery.
As a result of Melih Fereli's curatorial intervention, the exhibition attained an important dimension, bringing together two great musicians, Kudsi Erguner (ney) and Jean-François Lagrost (shakuhachi) in a musical interpretation of Sarkis' watercolours. Diffused in the gallery throughout the exhibition (looping to the start on the hour, 20 and 40 minutes past the hour), this unique pre-recorded interpretation beckons the viewer to listen carefully, as if it were a "call" on Ryoanji, almost witnessing the blending of locations that are remote, both geographically and culturally, and thus enhancing the expressivity of Sarkis' "sound-trails".
Image: Sarkis, Interpretation of Cage / Ryoanji
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