‘Satisfaction guaranteed’ in Turkish duo's Italy exhibition
Hatice Utkan Özden
Yasemin Baydar (L) and Birol Demir, the :mentalKLINIK duo, question the depths of satisfaction with irony and humor in their latest exhibition ‘83%Satisfaction Guaranteed.’Turkish artistic duo :mentalKLINIK, which has come to the fore with large-scale installations in exhibitions around the world, questions the notion of satisfaction in their latest exhibition.
Now in its latest exhibition titled “83% Satisfaction Guaranteed” in Porto Cervo, Italy, :mentalKLINIK questions the depths of satisfaction with irony and humor. As they do each time, the duo starts with queries: What does it mean to be so close to feeling whole, to feeling happy – but not quite at 100 percent? In what way is “satisfaction” not just a goal, but a socio-cultural metaphor?
They use the idea of satisfaction as a vehicle for capitalism, existing as a media-infused corporate substitute for intimacy as it relates to the construction of desire within the public arena, according Legacy Russel in a text for the project.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News about the exhibition, the duo, which consists of Yasemin Baydar and Birol Demir, said: “Satisfaction is a promise of the system of the good life fantasy, and desire is the driving source for the system. When it might be achieved, another desire will appear; this is human psychology and the source of life but may be the weakest part of [being] human. So satisfaction is always [more] a promise than [being] real.”
While explaining “satisfaction” as they perceive it, they dislocate the materials already detached from everyday life and create a new aesthetic form that is awkward, alien and uncanny within the exhibition space, forcing viewers to question their own material surroundings. Throughout their works, they bring to light invisible politics and social dynamics that define our everyday lives.
The viewer sees a moet musselet, duck faces (they seemed to be made from paper) and a shiny colorful carpet. Candy Crush is a carpet installation. The pattern comes from ephemeral stickers such as candy’s ephemeral nature. And the promise here is an instant joy and satisfaction that will last only a short amount of time.
According to Baydar and Demir, their balloon characters, called “Airless” and which are made of cooper and hand-painted, are a promise full of air with a lively look, but here they are a failure and without life since they are still colorful. They are also the promise of a serial production’s identical appearance, but here they are unique with their zany look kept for an eternity while their nature is more ephemeral.
Moet is like large-scale twist-off tops from champagne bottles that lay strewn on the gallery floor like remnants from a party hosted by giants, said Baydemir and Demir. “The giants here are not simply celebrities or the famous; the giants are the mammoth banks that are ‘too big to fail,’ and that turn their success into our catastrophic loss.”
Who is :mentalKLINIK?
:mentalKLINIK consists of Baydar, who was born in 1972 in Istanbul, and Demir, who was born in 1967 in Ankara. The two, who have been collaborating for 18 years, are known for their tendency to reinvent process, production, roles, conception and presentation. Starting their collaboration in 1998, the creative team began a creative factory that could continue. Resisting the limitations of a single vocabulary or style, their world is a playful one full of hedonistic appeal which can be experienced as festive and glamourous but also surprising as one approaches to discover with a closer view an underlying violence suggestive of a bad trip after a party or “the creepy beginning of the end.”