4/24/2007

Every Wind That Blows

Koštana Banović | Ergin Cavuşoğlu | Esra Ersen | Ivan Grubanov | Ahmet Öğüt
21 April - 26 May, 2007
SMART Project Space, Arie Biemondstraat 105-113, Amsterdam
Tue – Sat, 12.00 – 17.00 hrs

The very extremity of our late twentieth century knowledge puts much of our cultural heritage to an extreme test. Only the very deprived can any longer help knowing that the documents of civilization have been written in blood and tears, blood and tears no less real for being very remote. And when this sense of awareness co-exists with a host of wounded spots on the face of the earth, the inclination is not only not to credit human nature with much constructive potential but not to credit anything too positive in the work of art.

In relation to this, ‘Every Wind That Blows’ presents the artists points of intervention in view of their individual histories; interventions that crucially involve the relationship between the future and the past, recovering the richness of layers, reconsidering the structure and content of a ‘tradition’ that they might still feel compelled to recognise as ‘theirs’ even if its ownership and the limits of the community it implies is part of what is in question.

Kostana Banovic's latest film, Ploha (Hopscotch) documents a journey that she undertakes with her teenage daughter and son from the Netherlands to Sarajevo, the city of her birth. Showing Sarajevo as a place of multiple identities itself, Ploha begins with the need to explore the identity issues that her children face, being part of a diasporic family, as they gradually become aware that they are perceived as being ’different´ by their peers. As a result, Ploha deals with the notion of distance: the emotional and geographical remoteness between a mother and her city of birth, between children and their parents´ country of origin, as well as a mother and her children.

The 3 channel video installation ‘Poised In the Infinite Ocean’ by Ergin Cavuşoğlu was shot around the Bay of Biscay and shows a lighthouse and seaside chateau being buffeted by a storm. The videos are infused with mourning, as if the intimate human presence is an ephemeral thing within a larger structure, whether nature or capitalism. Cavuşoğlu seems motivated by a desire to capture moments and places as they become obliterated by these implacable forces.
Identity, language, migration and integration, usually a site-specific approach, and most of all her own cultural background are Esra Ersen's central motifs. Her interest lies in the formation of identity and its transformation in different contexts or power structures. She examines how the perception of others and clichés influence self-perception. The artist develops her works in intensive collaboration with different social groups, which she accompanies over a long period of time. The installation entitled ‘Ich bin Türke, ich bin ehrlich, ich bin fleißig’ (I am Turkish, I am Honest, I am Diligent) 2005, comes from the words of a Turkish school song. Ersen asked a group of Austrian children to wear the traditional Turkish school uniform for a week and then record their feelings.Taken as a whole, the work attempts to examine how ideological concepts may be transferred, such as nationality, power and identification.

The relationship between historical development and that of a personal narrative are negotiated in the works by Ivan Grubanov. Grubanov defines his practice as a mapping of himself onto the train of history. The artist often chooses a subjective documentary approach whereby there is always certain ambivalence with respect to the subject. He avoids superficial points of view, opinions, and univocal emblematic gestures. At the same time he questions his own position: to what extent does identification with the absolute past and self reflection signify one another? Grubanov suggests a recognition of the fact that ones heritage is necessarily internally differentiated.

Ahmet Öğüt brings the diversity of specific local determinations, which appear to take place in a particular temporal and spatial relationship, to his work. Ögüt’s art, and its patent subjectivism, is anchored in the significant role that the media plays in constructing and manipulating reality. As a result, he uses the images of events that appear in daily media sources such as newspapers and television, recapturing those images in a totally different frame.