Artist examines himself as subject in his solo exhibition
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily NewsArtist Erdem Taşdelen, whose premier solo show is featured at NON Gallery in Istanbul, begins his book “Dear” with the following sentence: “When I write, I am not writing to you, but to myself. My intention is to speak to myself, but you will be the receiver of these words.”
Taşdelen’s words are no coincidence. His exhibition in Istanbul, titled The Semi-Aware Subject, is his exploration of self; in other words, his exhibition shows the audience how Taşdelen discovers himself through his art, using words and songs that he uses each day and sometimes even making fun of himself. According to Taşdelen, the exhibition is like a personal journey that never ends.
The book “Dear,” one aspect of the exhibition, is a collection of 24 unsent, unrequited love letters written by the artist in 2010. “At first when I started to write these letters, I just wanted to write,” he said. However after a while, Taşdelen realized that these letters took so much of his time that he decided to transform them into a publication.
In one installation, Taşdelen displays 48 business cards that he designed for daily use with unusual descriptors such as “distraught egomaniac,” “eternal adolescent” and “participant observer.” In another piece, titled “Enchantments” (2012), a series of doormats incorporating mantras taken from fortune telling books attempts to garner his own success through a superstitious lens, claiming the gallery space and transforming its energy.
Humorous attempts of Erdem Taşdelen
Taşdelen likes to use these humorous attempts that imply an underlying uncertainty in his own future. This theme can also be seen in the video animation “Mixed Feelings” (2012), where a line-drawn portrait of a man continuously morphs from one facial expression to another.
As an artist, Taşdelen is courageous in his confessions and self-disclosure, claiming to present himself as a case study in personal identity through self-reflexive scrutiny. The reality in his work sometimes comes as exaggerated facts, as he considers his work a form of performance.
Working meticulously and with details, Taşdelen has undertaken specialized projects such as locating every time Kylie Minogue has said the word “you” in a song, and creating a voice installation from the samples. Taşdelen doesn’t consider his creations time-consuming or even work.
Taşdelen says the title for his solo show comes from a 1981 portraiture guidebook titled “How to Photograph People.” The book distinguishes between three types of photographic portraits based on the awareness of the subject being photographed: candid, planned and semi-aware. While the work in the exhibition has no specific reference to photography as a medium, Taşdelen is interested in situating himself as a semi-aware subject in the form of an emerging artist and performing this subject with ironic and humorous self-mockery, ultimately presenting a dubious non-photographic self-portrait. The exhibition continues until Feb. 16.
A parrot in the exhibition
Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So” (2013) is a reworking of the 1974 Marcel Broodthaers work of the same title, and in which one of the rooms at NON will be inhabited by a live parrot for the duration of the exhibition. While Broodthaers’ work could be seen as referencing the role of artists in society, Taşdelen’s reworking of it today may suggest that contemporary art takes the forms of appropriation and repetition of learned behavior. This idea is paralleled in a sound installation titled “You You You” (2013), poins to the construction of generic objects of desire in popular culture