This is beyond attacking a sculpture
I regard the reaction shown against the sculpture “Kostantiniyye” as the start of a danger in a broader and more extensive field.
It is the symbol of disrespect to art and the artist; as a matter of fact, a symbol of a lack of love. Its removal is a separate matter; the perpetrators, when they see that threats have a result, will repeat them. They will enjoy the primitive pressure of their domination.
Ahmet Güneştekin is an artist who is also known internationally; his pictures and pieces are also exhibited in other countries.
I was there on that evening when the exhibition was opened. The atmosphere of the shopping mall had changed; the beauty of art was somehow reflected on the visitors.
I walked through the mall; because I had already seen that piece of art before, I did not wait for the opening.
I reached the opinion that Kostantiniyye’s visual quality had intensified in the venue. It was situated in front of a decorative pool. I liked it more there than its exhibition; I thought it suited the place well. It complemented the architecture.
I spoke with officials; they told me they would be opening similar exhibitions there from now on. I was delighted because I find these activities necessary to change the very cookie-cutter appearances of malls. I believe that those who come to the mall for various reasons will have a connection or will strengthen their connection with art when they see such works. Moreover, at the entrance of each shopping mall, such sculptures should be placed, perhaps allowing us to eliminate the hatred against sculptures in time.
Writer Ferit Edgü wrote about seeing and loving an art piece. In an automotive factory abroad, the painting of a famous artist was hung on the wall of the cafeteria. No information was provided. Nobody seemed to be paying attention to the presence of the painting there. When they removed the painting, workers reacted and said: “Why did you remove the painting? It was beautiful. It cheered us up while we were eating.” They made them put it back again.
Poet Yahya Kemal Beyatlı would complain about two of our shortcomings: “lack of paintings and lack of prose.” Even though years have passed, this complaint has never lessened in essence. The brain lobe that controls aesthetics in our brain reaches its peak in intolerance when paintings and sculptures are in question.
I would have expected those who come to the mall to shop to react to this decision and protect the art piece.
What really astonished me is the attitude of the municipality. Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality sent its municipal police and they, as is their daily practice, treated the sculpture as if it were a vendor’s cart and notified the authorities to remove it.
As a matter of fact, their duty should have been to protect it.
The metropolitan municipality has a cultural affairs department; they have advisers. I have no doubt they, too, did not approve of this interference.
The director of the A Plus mall, Cemil Demirbakan, told daily Hürriyet the other day that they removed the sculpture because of threats. They were left defenseless.
I feel hopeless for the young generation. Those threats are not only against this sculpture but an attack against a generation’s aesthetic education.
Thankfully, three pieces of the artist continue to be exhibited.
I have some recommendations for the managers of the mall after highlighting the weirdness of what the municipality has done.
The managers should stand up to this stance; they should constantly open exhibitions.
I’m not exaggerating. Those who ban this are preventing their children from being good, civilized persons.
Attacking a sculpture is not only “attacking a sculpture.” The moment we come to understand this, no problem will be left anyway.