CROSSED DESTINIES: HOMAGE TO CALVINO

curator: ipek yeğinsü

Art Talks X: Uygar Demoğlu & İpek Yeğinsü
26.04.2018

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”.[1] 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’[2]. 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)[3] 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. 

[1] Calvino, I. (1973). “Sunuş”. Kesişen Yazgılar Şatosu, s. 8. İstanbul: Can Yayınları.

[2] 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.

[3] 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

UYGAR DEMOĞLU

VOID

2018 l single-channel video, Ed. 3 + 1 AP

Drone Operator: Kürşat Gökahmetoğlu

Sound Design: Akkor

Special Thanks to : Barış Çavuş, Adnan Onur Acar, Ahmet Ali Arslan, Mert Karaçıkay, Recep Akar, Devrim Lüküslü, Pertev Emre Taştaban

Its current and predicted environmental, economic and social effects make the Third Istanbul Airport project an important subject of debate. In addition to the immense desertification of an area 72% of which was previously covered in forests, several NGOs report the construction’s negative impact on the marine ecosystem nearby, where the dumping of the excavation debris into the sea destroys the reproduction sites of numerous marine species. While some sources with a socioeconomic agenda attribute the chronic postponement of the project deadline to financial complications, others claim that the construction team works in unhealthy conditions, or the acquisition of great portions of land by contractor firms causes an economy of rent to emerge. How transport to and from the city center will be handled without a subway system once the airport will be operational, on the other hand, is another question that deeply concerns the urban planners.  

Void, the work inspired by the short story The Tale of the Forest's Revenge from the book and produced by Uygar Demoğlu for the exhibition “Crossed Destinies”, brings to mind the area’s newly acquired function related to flight, as well as pointing at the importance of the big picture in evaluating a process. Thanks to its unusual scale, its narrative directness absorbs the viewer completely. In the vasteness of the dystopic emptiness, the human being becomes absent; the traces of his existence are so minuscule, they raise the doubt they have been added later and digitally into the picture. Demoğlu who approaches his subject from a documentarist’s point of view, encourages us to reflect on the meaning of humanity and its relationship to nature.

About UYGAR DEMOĞLU:

Uygar Demoğlu is a graduate of Marmara University Faculty of Communication. The artist working in documentary film, photography and video since 2002 refers to his artistic mission as “re-fictionalizing reality with a subjective point of view, taking the world we live in as the center of the dialectic”. His work has been exhibited at various venues and events including the Sharjah Biennial, Sinopale, Borusan Contemporary, Mamut Art, REM Art Space and Mixer.