Fictional reality combines with real characters
Hatice Utkan ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Eight photographs at the exhibition also focus on the relation between the relations of ambitious characters from history.A new solo exhibition from Bashir Borlakov aims to unearth past ghosts and tell a fictional story about six characters from history. “Dreams of Mexico” at Istanbul’s Pilot Gallery relates stories about real-life characters in a challenging and fictional reality. Borlakov chose to reflect on the relations between Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Lev Trotsky, Sylvia Agaloff, Ramon Mercader and David Alfaro Siqueiros through eight photographs.
“The reason I choose these characters is my interest in the history of the 20th century,” Borlakov said in an interview.
“I decided to interpret the events of the 20th century from my own perspective. However, later on, I decided to focus on Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Lev Trotsky, Sylvia Agaloff, Ramon Mercader and David Alfaro Siqueiros.”
Even though all of these characters are related with each other, Borlakov created his own fictional reality with the photographs while depicting the dreams of six characters.
“Those characters are somehow related with each other,” he said. “For example, Trotsky stayed at Frida’s house for a while and they had [an affair]. On the other hand, Ramon is the man who assassinated Trotsky and Sylvia is his lover, who also worked as a servant for Trotsky.”
Incidentally, Trotsky also stayed on Istanbul’s Büyükada island for four years after he was deported from the Soviet Union in February 1929. His house still stands on the island off the city’s Asian coast even though few are familiar with his time in Istanbul.
Through these networks of relationships, the artist deconstructs historical knowledge by making visible the fundamental issues of being a human, such as love, hatred, betrayal, art, politics and death.
“These characters are very powerful and significant characters in history. We can also say those people have changed history,” Borlakov said.
As a result, Borlakov’s exhibition may also be read as a theater play. “However, this is a play which consists of marginal characters.” Such a reflection of history is full of absurdities. In fact, what Borlakov undertakes is an impossible mission to write history with an approach that is far different than a documentarian. The eight photographs at the exhibition may seem like computer-generated paintings. All of the works describe Borlakov’s former “panoramic series,” which he has been producing since 2005 and which have been described as “fictional reality.” Borlakov aims to show the viewer the reality of history and the fiction that he can create within his photographs.
Aspect of time and space
Borlakov created a fictional ground for the photographs in which time and space are not real. His approach also combines with the “dreams” of six people in history that he created.
According to Borlakov, every age dreams of its own utopia. In that sense, the images he produces today are nothing but the visualization of a common memory that does not solely belong to him. Beyond all its individual attributes, art functions as a historical and social document.
One of Borlakov’s protagonists, Trotsky, dreams of Chagall paintings, while Mercader is punished like Prometheus. An artist could become a murderer, and someone known as the wife of a famous painter could be transformed into the most significant heroine of the 20th century. History is bendable according to the priorities, perception and approach of the age lived in.
Borlakov’s exhibition at Pilot will run until Jan. 21.