Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin. Facts, Incidents, Accidents, Circumstances, Situations

ms2, Ogrodowa 19
15th November 2013 – 16th February 2014
Opening: 15th November 2013, Friday, 6 p.m.

In his art, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin (b. 1957 in Ankara – d. 2007 in Istanbul) took up the issues of globalisation which he perceived through the notions of peripheries, inferiority and marginality. His artistic practice consisted in recording, collecting and transforming the globally circulating popular and collectively created images, dialects, signs and products. He was interested in cheap, mass-produced objects, amateur photography, advertisements, roadside architecture and second-rate design as manifestations of a hybrid and anonymous production of culture. Alptekin also documented inconspicuous everyday life events, taking place on the edge of attention.

Apart from the works created between 1991–2007 (in the early period in collaboration with M.D. Morris), the exhibition features objects from Alptekin's archive, which the artist did not consider as works of art. These are, among others, commercial brochures, postcards, hotel stationery, packs of cigarettes, food and cosmetics containers, labels... collected during his numerous trips. This miscellany constituted the environment of his life and work, it was a a reservoir of themes and sometimes a material basis for production of the artworks realized as installations, collages, objects, videos or digital prints.

The political event crucial for Alptekin's work was the fall of the Cold War order, which resulted in the intensification of capital's flow and new global asymmetries. However, the inferiority collected and transformed by the artist was not any particular, historically colonized time-space continuum, but a conjunction of overlapping images of peripheries and borderlands of Western modernity as well as clichés of Orientalism. These representations also refer to a low-rank reality – one that is poor, imitative, hybrid, vulgar, secondary, aspiring, filled with meaningless, coincidental events and situations, as well as characters excluded from great historical narratives.

The exhibition at Muzeum Sztuki focuses on the means used by Alptekin – such as translation, imitation, multiplication, appropriation, recontextualization – by which he shaped his vision of globality, alternative to the inequality-producing mechanisms of globalisation. His perspective enables to see the universum where the cultural margins, peripheries and historical contingency, due to their ubiquity, cease to be inferior to the civilizational centres. The work of Alptekin outlines a chance for a community in which all aesthetics and forms of life are potentially creative, productive and equal.

Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin (1957–2007) – an artist, writer, art critic, educator, initiator of collective artistic actions (Grup Grip-in, Sea Elephant Travel Agency, Bunker Research Group). He studied aesthetics, philosophy and sociology at the Hacettepe University in Ankara (1977–1981) and at Philosophy Department, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne where he earned a diploma in game theory (1983). He continued his education there, pursuing a Ph.D. programme (1984–1988). Alptekin participated in numerous biennales (Cetinje 2002, Iași 2003, Tirana 2003, Havana 2003, San Sebastian 2004, Tirana 2005, Istanbul 2006, Venice 2007) and thematic group exhibitions (i.a. Iskorpit: Recent Art from İstanbul, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 1998 and Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe 1999; Total Global, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel 2000; In Search of Balkania, Neue Gallery, Graz 2002; How Lattitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 2003; Bal / Kan: Blut und Honig, Sammlung ESSL, Klosterneuburg 2003).

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin. Facts, Incidents, Accidents, Circumstances, Situations, Łódź 2013. Essays by: Ali Akay, Sezgin Boynik, Duygu Demir, Krzysztof Pijarski, Joanna Sokołowska. 

curators: Joanna Sokołowska, Magdalena Ziółkowska
exhibition coordination: Beata Bocian, Monika Wesołowska
exhibition architecture: Krzysztof Skoczylas
graphic design: Grupa Projektor / Joanna Jopkiewicz & Paweł Ł. Borkowski

Exhibition catalogue - full version

Documentary

SAHA Association provided production support for the publication Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin. Facts, Incidents, Accidents, Circumstances, Situations

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