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“Utopien Vermeiden” , Werkleitz Festival 2013
Halle (Saale), Germany

Interview with the curator Misal Adnan Yildiz for the exhibition catalogue

MISAL ADNAN YILDIZ: Can you start with the simple idea of Horizons? How did you come up with the project?

EGEMEN DEMİRCİ: "Horizons", came out as a response to series of political events around the globe in the last couple of years, and the situation we are facing with the common problems surfacing in the aftermath of these events. To put it simply, I feel the attempts to change things, fundamentally lack two crucial elements, organization and an alternative to replace the existing problematic situation. What interests me here is the perception and construction of these alternatives. Which is fundamentally a problem of time and space. In this sense I am very much drawn into looking at approaches to the notion of “the unknown”. How can we think of something that we do not know of its existence, or how can we imagine something beyond the grasp of our experience and intellect, how can we include things that we cannot relate to in our daily lives? There is also a question of why would we do any of these things but I also believe they are strongly political questions. Following this inquiry I started first looking at ancient philosophers like Anaximander (B.C. 610 – 547) who was one of the first – at least in the Western World - to try to come up with a systematic analysis of how the universe is constructed. This was the fairly the starting point of the project.

MAY: What can you tell us about your material research?

ED: Both the work in the Gasometer and in Technik Halle is about perspectives. From the start I was thinking what would be the best material to produce the work in Gasometer, and at first there were several possibilities of locations which would determine the material. Also there is a typography I have been working on for about a year, which would be impossible to make with Neon letters. But at the end when it was clear to use the gasometer, I wanted to use a material that would not only be seen in the space but fill up the space and even at certain times of the day pour out of the space. This has also to do with the notion of reality I wanted to tackle with the work. So using Neon letter was then the right choice. Nevertheless, for both of the works, I believe light comes out as the main material.

MAY: What was the main steps during your production process?

ED: The interesting thing for me using transparent plexiglass and Neon light, was the choice of colors for both materials, from a limited and basic selection. It is a moment where industrial or commercial productions actually put limits on the potential transformations of artistic production. To a point I like staying in these limits since it makes the work potentially reproducible as originals, bypassing the critique, and not transform something into a unique piece of artwork which can be never produced again – which is not really a favored attitude today. To follow this historical remark I can add that although there is a clear reference to Suprematism in the drawings, the starting point here for me is not the disqualification of the object but rather to observe its transition from a material entity to data. So instead of seeking a Non-Objective world, it is about the de-materialization of the object and in turn how we use this information to construct a meaningful setting.

MAY: What about the structure of the sentence? On the one side you seem to be giving hope but on the other side you want us to keep our feet on the ground. You are in dialogue with the audience. Can we call this cognitive realism?

ED: Cognitive for me covers a very wide area. I do not believe I have the time to handle the notion of reality which itself is a very tough and deep subject. In the sentence, as you said there are two perspectives but reality is singular. This shows on the one side a dialectic which repeats itself in our lives and on the other side differences in perception and interpretation before a continuous and steady reality. What is fundamentally and crucially important for me is to challenge the notion of subjectivity, the anti-Copernican world view which puts the subject in the center of universe.

MAY: What is your observation about the reception of the work regarding the audience?

ED: Of course people want to look at things and build relations amongst them in order to understand what is exposed. For me the problem is when these relations are formed only retrospectively, maybe through the artist, or through the research, topic, process etc. In both of these works, I was interested in somewhat more structural relations, for example the jump from the unique acoustics of the Gasometer, which compels people almost immediately to make sounds, to a linguistic proposition. Also in the drawings / wall sculptures a repeating closed circuit formed with the geometric representations of objects and their deconstructed forms. This structural turn allows me to step outside of the historicity or retrospective reference system.