Man and the Death exhibition at Mine Art Gallery

Good news for those who couldn’t go. ‘Erkek ve Ölüm’ exhibition at Mine Art Gallery was extended until April 24th. The exhibition brings three generations of contemporary art together.In the exhibition which is curated by Prof. Dr. Balkan Naci İslimyeli and which emphasizes organized ‘killing’ of men most important male artists of contemporary art come together.

The exhibition takes place with participation of Balkan Naci İslimyeli, Başir Borlakov, Ergin İnan, Genco Gülan, Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu, Mehmet Güleryüz, Komet, Halil Altındere and Vahit Tuna. We see the artists’ paintings, sculptures and installations in this exhibiton which examines the triangle formed by men, power and death.

The men, who have no rights even to cry, who cannot talk, who cannot express their feelings, who always try to stay strong, die slowly. As soon as I step into the gallery, I see one of the most impressive works. It is Gürbüz Doğan EKŞİOĞLU’s work. There is a marble coffin rest and a dead man in military camouflage is on it, with a flower on his chest…

These words of the work’s text from the wall next to it are stiking: “Men are led to war and death by praising their hunter instincts in various environments. In any case, war is the keyword at the base of this system; that is, declare the other as a competitor and enemy, lock onto the target and hate and at the end, eliminate him. Men become the voluntary victims of this game with their weaknesses towards heroism and power. We believe that criticizing this process which presents death as a present for men with whatever we have available as one of the most humane standing points.”

Gürbüz Doğan Ekşioğlu, who we know with his illustrations and paintings, shows us a different side of his with his installations in this exhibition. What affected me most was that huge skein with a knife stabbed on it. His work created using hanging ropes and questioning military coup era executions reminded me of innocent young people killed for nothing…

While passing through the hallway, seeing Balkan Naci İslimyeli presenting his own head on a tray with a crown made of of daisies and his other works are very impressive in their own rights.

Komet’s photograph from master artist Burhan Doğancay’s funeral reminded me of how many important names we have lost this past year. Many stars have fallen this year…

While the two gold colored metal gun sculptures facing each other in “Altın Oyuncak (Golden Toy) by Genco Gülan symbolize guns representing the power concept in the male world, we see Dali’s famous photograph on the wall; but as we take a closer look, we notice he is not actually Dali! It is Genco Gülan masquarading as Dali. The artist’s other work criticizes television; he wrote the television’s death date on a tombstone; 1920 – 2012.

One of the most impressive works of the exhibition is Başir Borlakov’s ‘Dream of David Alfaro Siqueiros.’ In this work, Borlakov tells of Mexican Stalinist artist David Alfaro Siqueiros’s failed assasination attemp on exiled Lev Trotsky in 1940.

A coffin with drawers caused so much trouble for Halil Altındere. As a curious society, we like watching who is taking whom to his house. A tragi-comic event that Halil Altındere lived in 1999 takes its place in this exhibition. During the time, the artist gets reported to the police by his neighbors with suspicions of satanist activities that were supposedly taking place at his home. The reason for this report was a 3D work by Altındere in which he used a coffin. The artist exhibits this coffin work in 1999 at AKM. Following the exhibition, he brings the coffin home and his neighbors see this. When the coffin fails to leave the house, they get suspicious and call the police. Then the police raids the house, looking for a dead body. Everywhere gets throughly searched. And finally Altındere proves to the cops that he is actually an artist. Altındere exhibits a copy of the police report for this event with a photograph of the aforesaid coffin work in this exhibition.

With its impressive works, we see the tension in the man, power and death triangle in this exhibition.

The men, who are raised with a power instinct, who shoulder heavy responsibilities lose their human qualities. They become unhappy and self destructive. Men – and of course, the society – need to be restructured.

I recommend that you see this exhibition in Nişantaşı Mine Sanat Galerisi and finally want to share Balkan Naci İslimyeli’s text on the exhibition with you:


“Violence is in hiding in the male genome. Although the structure that we call civilization covers and hides this basic instinct, violence which waits patiently in his hiding ground seeps through the cracks for unknown reasons. These explosions are as much self destructive for the man as they are destructive for the one who is in the receiving end. The violence which cannot find a vent in oppressed moments and eras, results in a man’s slow self destruction. The rebellion which is basically caused by hurting of power feelings gets diverted and suppressed with various belongings – of which the family is the leading one – and male cooperations. Thus educated violence creates new power areas for itself through organized methods. Death is a tragic social gift given to the male in return for glorification of his male weaknesses. Heroism, display of power or monetary power are recommended – nay, ordered – values for the male in social structures and the male who plays his role in this game faces early death. Violence, even for protecting life, goes on to destroy him in the end. The most tragic part of man’s power worship is that it can turn him into a slave for those who are more powerful than him. Beginning in childhood, other powers and other men turn into role models for him. This admiration created by his heroes, forces the male subconcious into a feeling of inadequecy and the whole male life gets spent searching for a position to destroy this feeling. This concept is very different from the feeling of acceptance of position in social hierarchy. The male’s dark and silent face appears in these secret moments and is hard to distinguish. For the male, life is a display of power. As he gets older, this power evolves either into wisdom or a sad struggle to stand up. Creativity and artistic pursuits of epic proportions are where the instinct for power and violence finds a vent in the art’s embrace. The feelings of loneliness and progress which are the main actors in basic psychological structuring of the male can reach glamorous radiance in creative works of art. However, the feelings for power, loneliness, progress and adventure also mean facing death with the great risks they contain. Because the greatest events of life are intermingled with its secret fellow traveller: the feeling of death.

This exhibition brings you quality art’s contemporary examples of manhood which follows a road of power, adventure and progress feelings. This problem, which we will see in works of three generations of male artists, will be enriched by artists’ approach to contradictions and specializations between creativity and motives and will form a platform for meaningful discussions.” Prof. Balkan Naci İslimyeli.

Stay with art…

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