CROSSED DESTINIES: HOMAGE TO CALVINO
CURATOR: İPEK YEĞİNSÜ
Art Talks Vlll: Bengü Karaduman & İpek Yeğinsü
Bilsart is host the group exhibition “Crossed Destinies: Homage To Calvino” between April 5th and May 2nd. Curated by İpek Yeğinsü the exhibition brings together the works of Özcan Saraç, Bengü Karaduman, Lara Kamhi and Uygar Demoğlu.
The Castle of Crossed Destinies (1973) is an ideal example of Italo Calvino’s experimental approach towards fictional narrative. This work which may also be defined as a ‘semiotic novel’ departing from the symbolism of tarot cards, is composed of two sections, namely “The Castle of Crossed Destinies” and “The Tavern of Crossed Destinies”, each containing eight short stories. In both settings, a group of individuals gather around a table and, unable to put their adventures into words, tell their stories through the images on the cards. The grid-like structure that emerges as the cards come one after another generates an archetypal network encouraging the reader to join the game as well. The stories occasionally become intertwined; while some cards repeatedly appear with varying meanings, others become indispensable for more than one narrators’ purpose. The result is an extraordinary pattern in which, in Calvino’s words, “the meaning of each card depends on its place in the sequence of cards preceding and succeeding it”. The sequence of images composing the stories is also reminiscent of concepts like cinematic narrative and montage; it is possible to argue that they even generate a ‘Kuleshov Effect’. This effect can be considered valid for moving images in general, and is also at the basis of the exhibition’s narrative structure.
The two sections in the exhibition, each with a duration of two weeks, establish an analogy with the book’s two respective sections. Moreover, each section in itself has been structured in a way to present one video work by one artist for one week, each produced specifically for the exhibition. Here the main objective is to initiate an intellectual exercise on the narrative effect generated by the sequence of works within the exhibition as well as on each artist’s response to the conceptual framework; to revisit Calvino’s semiotic experimental field within the context of video art via two different artist duos with ‘crossed destinies’. During the curatorial process, the discovery of the fact that Ergin Çavuşoğlu’s work Desire Lines / Tarot & Chess (2016) was exhibited a few months ago at the same venue and was based on the same text, added yet another exciting layer of meaning to the already existing ones: the exhibition space’s own history, emerging from the sequence of visually oriented activities it presents.
 Calvino, I. (1973). “Sunuş”. Kesişen Yazgılar Şatosu, s. 8. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.
 According to Lev Kuleshov, one of the leading figures of the Soviet Montage School, our perception of a film is not determined by the sum of its single frames and their contents but by their sequential arrangement.
 Çavuşoğlu explains that this work is based on Calvino’s literary expressions in The Castle of Crossed Destinies. Source: http://www.ergincavusoglu.com/html/new_website/Desire_LinesTC.html
Self-perception and unconscious mental processes like dreams, projections and associations have an important place in Bengü Karaduman’s artistic practice. In Biography, Karaduman uses the texts selected from her personal diaries from the period 1981-2018 and presented in a chronological order, creating an alternative life story and pointing at the subjectivity of the perception of time. This subjectivity is as closely related with the individual’s particular stage of life and state of emotion as with the dynamics of the society at large. Thanks to the selection process targeting the past from today’s viewpoint, the work also offers a particular kind of criticism targeting concepts like memory and historicization.
While Karaduman presents the quoted texts in combination with drawings, her interest in which has particularly been deepening in recent years, she sometimes adopts an illustrative and other times an expressive style, but always a simple and naive language. She also approaches the text as an aesthetic element per se by transforming it into moving imagery. In the work produced specifically for the exhibition “Crossed Destinies”, the symbolic unity of meaning of the serial images that are apparently unrelated at first sight, bears similarity to the relations of meaning the storytellers in the novel establish between the cards.
In the exhibition, Biography is presented in a loop with two language versions screened one after the other.
About BENGÜ KARADUMAN:
Studied Stage and Costume Design at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts followed by New Artistic Media at Hochschule der Bildenden Künste Saar. Focusing on the building of the self and the subconscious using techniques like video, animation, installation, drawing and sound, the artist’s work has been exhibited at venues including İstanbul Modern, Borusan Contemporary, Maçka Art Gallery, Milli Reasürans Art Gallery, Outlet, Heidelberger Kunstverein, Künstlerhaus Wien and Galerie Maerz. .