Telling a story through artworks
Hatice Utkan Özden
Everyone needs stories in order to live meaningfully, justify behaviors and even raise awareness and understanding. Stories are a way of creating new experiences. And sometimes those stories become exhibitions and artworks. They start to tell new stories and new experiences.
The exhibition titled “Night Rehearsal” is acting as a story that belongs to all of us. This is such a story that Özgün acts as a poet as he feels, observes and imagines new experiences and selects, combines and reorganizes these experiences and reaches out to the viewer.
During the virtual tour of the exhibition held by Mixer Gallery, Özgün says that he focuses on race, gender, species, and class-based categories, while he evaluates these categories around micro and macro power and competence areas in our lives.
Özgün thinks outside the box and does not present us with cut and dried scenes of power and competence. He pushes our boundaries and presents a new way of looking at society.
Story of creatures
“The reason I have chosen the title ‘Night Rehearsal’ is because I was searching for a way to show how the desires and deviations that awaits to be revealed during the day can move freely at night. In a way, nighttime can let so many different feelings be liberated.”
So, Özgün tells the stories of creatures that are wandering free at night and how they act if they can be free from the power domains of life. Özgün also tells the stories of these power domains that we are entitled to live within.
“Sometimes, power center might be a marriage, sometimes a home, maybe society. In short, power domains of all kinds are in focus in my artworks,” he adds.
That’s how he discovers the species, neither human nor animal, and having animal instincts. Özgün divides the works into four: Flying ones, swimming ones, crawling ones and walking ones. In each category, he tells a different story, in which we drown: Stories of mothers, stories of protestors, stories of children, stories of immigrants and many more.
In a way, Özgün tells the story of the system that we belong to and how the system somehow controls us by violence, by numbness and he shows us the failure to live with this state of mind. The creatures of the artist having human limbs are having animalistic features. We see creatures having tentacles like an octopus but still a human, humans with furs, bird-like creatures having arms… The creative process of the artist works like an enigma, as he blends the realities of the system, power dynamics in the society and existence of human beings within the truth.
Each category is telling a story about a part of society and maybe each of them is a character from the story that the artist is telling us. Somehow he wants to show the viewer what it takes to be a human being and let us question the system that we are in while showing us a more romantic, subliminal and dark side of being an animal or another kind of living creature in life.