Halil Altındere, an artist as a magician

Halil Altındere, an artist as a magician

Hatice Utkan Özden - ISTANBUL
Halil Altındere, an artist as a magician

It is impossible to see Halil Altındere’s works as common contemporary artworks. There is always much more depth when the viewer gets to discover them. His current exhibition opened for the 75th year of Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts Center (Yapı Kredi Kültür Sanat), and is the best proof of how the viewer can invent the works and get to know how reality is manipulated. 

“Life is stronger than art and if that’s the case, then an artist should give space for life in his art,” said Altındere. According to the artist, his works reveal the realities in life. What Altındere does is to blend this reality with magic. That’s why the name of the exhibition is “Abracadabra.”

“I think it is fair to say that I am adding a small ‘hocus-pocus’ effect in all works,” he says. Doing so, he interprets everything that we see in life in a more different way. “An ordinary object has a different meaning and function in my works and that is what I am doing in this new exhibition.”

Curated by Hou Hanru, the new exhibition of Altındere is the most extensive exhibition of his art practice in Istanbul. He had extensive exhibitions in different cities in the world, however, this time, his old and new 3D works and sculptures will be exhibited in the same venue.

“Hou Hanru suggested we should do a large show with my sculpture works and we followed that idea. I will use the exhibition area as a stage and each work will be exhibited in large spaces,” he said.

Altındere uses daily objects or the things we see in our daily lives. “I take an object and manipulate its meaning. In a way I can say I have differentiated the term ‘hocus pocus’ and added hyperrealist approach into my works. As a result, fiction and reality blend and a new meaning appear in my works. The exhibition’s main idea is hidden inside these objects,” said Altındere, noting that his aim is to establish an area of communication between the artist, work and viewer.

“I have always wanted to reach to audience. I value the relation between the artwork and the viewer.”

According to Altındere, the exhibition space is a stage and in this exhibition he stages each artwork as if they come out from the hands of a magician. On the other hand, he uses the experience of collective memory and area.

“I use the collective memory of İstiklal Avenue. There are millions of people passing through it each day and I have always used the magic of İstiklal Avenue in my works. For example, my sculpture Pala Şair [a wax sculpture] is inspired from this area. He is real, and when I first created this sculpture in 2005 and placed it in the gallery people wanted to touch his beard and moustache. In a way I have integrated the viewer experience into my sculpture,” he said.

Exhibiting 26 works at the Yapı Kredi Culture and Arts Center, Altındere’s show is full of magic. A large piano greets viewers in the entrance. The piano plays a song by itself, which also refers to the name of the exhibition “abracadabra.”

The artist refers to the latest trends, historical happenings, iconic figures, politics and culture.

“I think everything can become the object of an artist’s work. Everything in life can drive an idea of an artwork. The decision on which idea to use in an artwork is the art itself.”

Altındere pulls the reality in life and presents this idea in an artwork. As a result, a blurry area occurs and that blurry area is the artist’s main concern.
Altındere puts his 20 years of practice in this show.

“As Yapıkredi Culture and Arts is celebrating its 75th year, I am celebrating my 20th year,” he said, adding that he has created seven sculptures only for this exhibition.

“Abracadabra” will run through Nov. 3.