3/26/2004

"Placebo Effect"

VASIF KORTUN

visits in order to have a conversation with the audience,
about the exhibition "Placebo Effect", which he curated for Sparwasser HQ.

In March 2004 Vasif Kortun invited Sparwasser HQ to bring our Berlin activities to Platform in Istanbul. For us the "Placebo Effect" exhibition in Berlin is an important opportunity to extend our knowledge about artists working in Turkey and an opportunity to consolidate and extend the network, which was initiated in March.

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Placebo Effect

November 6. - December 18. 2004

Köken Ergun - Berat Isik - Ahmet Ögüt - Erkan Özgen - Serkan Özkaya - Sener Özmen

Curated by Vasif Kortun*

A conversation with Vasif Kortun will be held at Sparwasser HQ on December 17.

Photos from the opening on November 5.


Press photo: (click for a higher resolution)
The Turkish Monument That Carries Eleven Watermelons, Ahmet Ögüt - Serkan Özkaya

PLACEBO EFFECT works:
Video Program: EXIT, Sener ÖZMEN, 2003; STOP! YOU ARE SURROUNDED, Berat ISIK, 2004; WHAT A LOVELY DAY, Ahmet ÖGÜT, 2004; ADULT GAMES, Erkan ÖZGEN, 2004; OUR VILLAGE, Sener ÖZMEN, 2004. Sculpture:THE TURKISH MONUMENT THAT CARRIES ELEVEN WATERMELONS, Ahmet ÖGÜT/ Serkan ÖZKAYA, 2003. Drawing: COLORING BOOK, Ahmet ÖGÜT/ Sener ÖZMEN. Video Projection: UNTITLED, Köken ERGUN, 2004.

Placebo Effect is an exhibition of artists from Turkey.

The Video program "ABES,"** underscores a trauma that transfers itself to times of post-trauma. These short films, rough and sharp on their edges, register a sense of loss and radical behavior. A young man tries to pull himself from a ruin, panting, only to find himself in there again; a man is spot-searched on a desolate country road; young kids in black ski masks occupy a playground in a rough neighborhood and engage in games that recall military training; a man with an erotic spraying device puts gasoline to the border and fires it up; two girls lip-synch to an essentialist song and are battered as the song goes on...

A reinvented children's coloring book by Ahmet Ögüt and Sener Özmen engages the complex realities of engrained customs, planetary media influences, hybrid presence, security forces, fundamentalists, and zoophiliacs, in a few pages.

Ahmet Ögüt and Serkan Özkaya's sculpture represents the punch line of a crass, juvenile joke, frozen, ad infinitum, in the shape of a faux-monument.

In Köken Ergun's video projection, a young man tries to cover his head with a scarf that is suggestive of the Turkish flag. Elegant and effete, he tries various versions until the exercise begins to collapse. He breaks into gentle tears over his failure to look to his liking.

The emptiness of the work THE TURKISH MONUMENT THAT CARRIES ELEVEN WATERMELONS, a thing that conceals its deficit, and that is reflected in the great void of what the joke rotates upon (the penis), led me to name the exhibition the Placebo Effect. It may as well have been a false promise and a late promise, had it not been for the impossible promise that is conscious of its own incongruence. This is a show of men, and I think it shows.

**ABES (A hmet, B erat, E rkan, S ener), a term which means "ridiculous," was coined by Sener Özmen to describe the density of artists from Diyarbakir, Turkey's largest Kurdish city. The term emphasizes commonalties of approach and not the regional geography of ethnicity. This is not to say, however, that issues of geography and ethnicity do not motivate these artists.