Multi-media art installation asks questions on the system
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Demonstrating once more her forte at tackling pressing social issues, social change and societal transformations, Eğrikavuk has returned with a new exhibition.Demonstrating once more her forte at tackling pressing social issues, social change and societal transformations, Turkish artist Işıl Eğrikavuk has returned with a new exhibition at Egeran Gallery titled “Reverse Corner” that was created in response to the Gezi protests.
In her latest work, Eğrikavuk explores the swift and uncontrollable urban transformation of Istanbul, as well as the problematic dichotomy between “us” and “them” that came to the fore during the height of the demonstrations.
“My works usually center on transformation and social issues. This time, I would like to emphasize the changes that the society has seen in the Gezi Park protests,” she said.
Eğrikavuk likes to use metaphors, as well as media. The title of her show, “Reverse Corner,” takes its name from a Turkish football term that refers to an unexpected shot that tricks the goalkeeper into protecting one side of the goal as the ball enters the other side.
In her work, Eğrikavuk takes an old competition program titled “Goal Show,” which used to be aired on Turkish TV in the 1990s and remakes the competition show into a work of art.
The effects of media and Goal Show
In Eğrikavuk’s rendition, “Goal Show” is a game show that allows people to call in as part of a contest to score penalty kicks against a goalkeeper. The art work focuses on Ferit, who graduated with a degree in archaeology but could not find suitable employment, leading him to become a police officer.
As he connects to the program, Ferit seems like an ordinary contestant. However, the call slowly reveals Ferit’s story in terms of his transformation from being an archaeologist into an officer, as well as his search for an escape route.
Explaining the aspects of the video, Eğrikavuk said, “In fact rather than emphasizing the issue of being a cop, I would like to see this as a whole system, because this is part of the system.”
The system as experienced by the police is not renewing itself, Eğrikavuk said.
The artist said she attempted to focus on social issues and their meanings, how the system forces people into another lifestyle and how people see themselves and others in life.
Football, a game played between two rivals, is very suitable for relating the story Eğrikavuk wants to tell. “Society was also separated into two parts during the [Gezi] protests. There were like two rivals and everyone was using the words ‘us’ and ‘them.’”
She also questions this dichotomy and explores the boundaries between “us” and “them.” According to Eğrikavuk, the Gezi Park movement underlined the importance of public space usage and public participation in cultural policies.
Apart from the video project, the installation features an environment that mimics a football stadium, alongside photographs and a collection of sculptures that call to mind police helmets in formation.
When visitors put on the helmet, they start to hear the story of a young man’s conflicted path to becoming a police officer. Ferit tells a sad story, leading the visitor to start to question the social role of the police, which may lead him or her to question the system in general.
Meanwhile, other photographs, which are printed to resemble surveillance photos, depict a performance in which a civilian and a police officer exchange clothes.
Once again Eğrikavuk reveals her successful method of separating real life from fiction and how she shrewdly observed the Gezi Park protests before elegantly expressing her take on the events.The exhibition will remain open at Egeran Gallery until Oct. 5.