Monday, December 19, 2005

Press Release: Borga Kantürk - Ahmet Ögüt

20 December 2005 – 28 January 2006

Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre presents the first comprehensive exhibition of Borga Kanturk and Ahmet Ogut along with a performance video series by Absalon titled “Solutions” 1991-93 shown in the vault.

On the opening night of the exhibition the 20th December, Kanturk and Ogut will talk about their individual practices and their presentations in the gallery space at 6pm.

Borga Kanturk uses painting as his artistic medium yet it is often difficult to call the result of his production processes ‘paintings’. He makes hand made copies of official documents, which dictate a public identity on to the individual, like diplomas, student identity cards, honours certificates, examination passes, and identity cards. These experiments with ‘artificiality’ and ‘constructedness’ become an act of protest through recreating the original images while distorting and reframing them. These remade objects, which were brought together in an installation titled “Borga Kanturk/Retrospective” shown in the exhibition ‘I am Too Sad to Kill You!’ at Proje4L in 2003 served as a starting point for other works.

The concept of ‘constructedness’ was carried over to the “KUTU (Box) Portable Art Gallery” project initiated in collaboration with artists from Izmir. The project originated from the idea of the artist creating a space for him/herself: “if you don’t have a gallery build it yourself!” KUTU is designed to be a prefabricated art venue with cardboard walls. The flexibility of the architectural structure allows the use of different materials depending on the requirements of the space. KUTU delineates an interim space within the real space (gallery) it inhabits like a parasite and transmits a whimsical and critical perspective through its nomadic existence.

Platform hosts a multi-layered selection from Borga Kanturk’s oeuvre. There are works which designate an intimate space, introverted and secluded: play-dough sculptures, found toys, “slightly melancholic mortal objects, tiny fragile statuettes that risk being disfigured with a touch” and everyday objects like a pack of cream cheese, a playing piece from a game, a leaf from a memo pad and a pencil. Little scenes made out of play-dough bring together elements borrowed from TV and computer games, such as a scene depicting a 1cm figure watching a Kylie Minogue music video. In Kanturk’s words: “a pocket size version of the dream of large scale production.” Next to them is the series of paintings bearing the title “ALLA TURCA” NEO-ROMANTIC emulating the renowned landscape works of romantic painters like Caspar David Frederich and William Turner on a small-scale. The attempt to discover landscapes provoking adventure on an artificial monitor; Lara Croft looking for the remains of a sunken ship underwater, a submarine in the midst of the blue, a car attacked by a UFO in an uncanny land, a passageway to a mysterious world. Little paradises that allow us to take a break from the everyday and daydream, habitats for protected adventures… “Creating a beautiful space that pleases you, withdrawing there and building your resistance there.”

Ahmet Ogut participates in the exhibition with three video works, one wall painting and a photographic series he produced in collaboration with Osman Bingol. Two recent video works “What a Lovely Day” and “Cut it Out” propose imaginary scenarios for real situations of cause and effect. “What a Lovely Day” depicts the playing out of a situation where the police stop and search a young man. Secret police, such as the ones portrayed in the video, exist in Ogut’s memory as a catalyst for assumed guilt and the fear of potential violence. His video is as much a re-enactment of scenes he has heard about, as it is a performance of his mind racing forward to conjure a future situation on seeing the tell-tale white car known to contain such police.

In “Cut it Out” a young man, who for Ogut represents the average American guy, sits on the floor in a pair of pants printed with an American flag motif. Posing as an Iraq posted soldier he curses the war, the people involved, the pointlessness of it all and numerously repeats the phrase “ it’s a lost cause, I want to go home” seemingly confused and referring both to America’s war efforts and the situation in Iraq simultaneously. Throughout his rendition he continuously breaks down in laughter, as if high and excessively nervous of a reality and seriousness he cannot express. On two occasions flash frames appear momentarily exposing two men dressed in the representation of terrorists fed to us by the media. The first time they stand behind the boy, posing as if guarding him, in the second all three appear dead. These split-second insertions jerk the viewer to look beyond the boy’s bewildered contempt to the more sinister reality it refers to.

“Death Kit Train”, another recently completed video will be shown for the first time at Platform in the context of this exhibition. In this work a standard modern car is seen slowly moving across the screen from right to left. When those pushing the car come into view there are not just two men, but maybe four, or eight. The line of men seems infinite, and their task suggests a reference to those in the workforce that perform mundane and often unnecessary manual labour and the many more that remain unemployed. Finally in the photographic series that Ogut produced in collaboration with Osman Bingol in 2002, the subject’s uniforms bring together the disorderly images of order with a black humour that can be read as the extreme point of military indiscipline. (Şener Özmen, excerpted from the catalogue of the exhibition ‘I am Too Sad to Kill You!’)

Borga Kantürk: was born in Izmir in 1978. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Dokuz Eylul University Fine Art Faculty Painting Department. He has been working as a research assistant in the same department since 2002. In the recent years Kanturk has participated in many international and national exhibitions. In 2005 he completed a three-month artist residency supported by Platform Garanti Contemporary Art centre and HIAP in Helsinki, Finland. He is the cofounder of KUTU Portable Art Gallery (2001) and K2 Art Centre (2002) where he continues to work as a Project Director.

Ahmet Ogut was born in Diyarbakir in 1981. He graduated from Hacettepe University Fine Art Faculty Painting Department. In 2005 Ogut completed a three-month residency at IAAB in Basel, Switzerland with support of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Centre and Pro Helvetia. In the recent years his work was shown extensively on an international basis and he recently had a solo show at Mala Galerija Ljubljana / The Museum of Modern Art of Slovenia. He is currently working as a research assistant at Yildiz Teknik University in Istanbul where he is continuing his graduate studies.
Text by November Paynter on Ahmet Ogut