With a Cleaning Cloth
Cengiz Çekil’s new work of 144 pieces manipulates the formal dynamics of the medium of painting; repetition—an important motif in the artist’s work—is placed at the center of this series. The form consists of a cleaning cloth, canvas, pieces of string, and hooks. On the background is paint and lace, differentiated from each other within the systems that Çekil has constructed based on the color of the paint and the different types of lace. This new work can be traced back to Çekil’s Obsession of 1974. The obsession that Çekil had expressed in a one-of installation before is now repeated over and over again, simultaneously inhabited by craftsmanship and automatized serial productions. The quotidian and domestic nature of the material is in conflict with the systems and numbers that the artist has constructed. The artist internalizes the ruthless autonomy of the female that he takes as his subject in this body of work.
Open Phone Booth
Nilbar Güreş’s installation Open Phone Booth, constituent of video and photographs, and premiered in the fall of 2011 at the Frieze Art Fair, will be exhibited for the first time in Turkey at Rampa Gallery’s project space on Şair Nedim Avenue. Open Phone Booth is situated at a very critical point in the practice of the artist, who lives between Vienna, New York and Istanbul. Stripped of personal references, this work is transformed into a contemporary “social realist” painting; it is inspired by observations and experiences in one of the Alevi-Kurdish villages in Bingöl, still deprived of basic infrastructural elements such as roads, water, and telephone. The photographs are charged with the pastoral atmosphere as a conceptual background; they are brought together by the aesthetic contradictions, isolated from the daily life of the village, pragmatic applications that deserve commendation for the use of materials and functionality, and poetic meaning. The three-channel video installation opens up with multiple perspectives the ironic situation that arises by the switchboard that was brought in the 1970s and became dysfunctional in the 1980s due to the conflicts in the region. The videos become a portrait of the villagers who in order to use the cell phones—accessible to almost everyone—go up to the hills to be within the “reception area.” In the video projections, the villagers seek a high enough point with good reception around the village to connect with the outside world; going up and down, they share with us their troubles, their anxiety to congratulate the holidays or their moments of confiding with their close ones. In this sense, Open Phone Booth affords us a lucid reading of today through the frameworks of economic transformation, communication technologies, the understanding of social government and civil rights, functioning as a lens that clerly show the situation within shifting values. The difference between the citizen and the client is right here and how could that be explained now?