Writings

Koken Ergun's Texts and Writings

Survey interview with Flash Art, Fall 2012

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FLASH ART – Do Turkey-based artists receive any support by the
government/institutions or galleries?

KÖKEN ERGUN – EUROPEAN MODELS DO NOT WORK IN TURKEY. IN SOME WAYS THIS CREATES A CERTAIN DYNAMISM. IN SOME WAYS IT DISCOURAGES MANY YOUNG ARTISTS, WHO ARE AWARE OF THE EUROPEAN MODEL.

THERE IS LITTLE BUT GROWING INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT. THESE ARE MOSTLY BASED ON COMMISSIONS OR FOR THE INSTALLATION OF WORKS IN HIGH PROFILE EXHIBITIONS ABROAD.

IF THERE IS ANY UNDERSTANDING ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART IN THE STATE, THEIR SPORADIC SUPPORT STILL SEEMS TO BE ACHIEVED ONLY WITH CLOSE INTIMACY WITH THE OFFICIALS IN ANKARA. A DAY TRIP TO ANKARA CAN RESULT IN AN UNEXPECTED SUPPORT. THIS OF COURSE IS NOT INSTITUTIONALIZED, AND WITH VERY LOW CHANCES OF REPETITION, OR CONTINUITY.  IT IS BASED ON THE MUTUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN THE PEOPLE ASKING FOR SUPPORT AND THE STATE OFFICIALS ON DUTY AT THAT VERY GIVEN TIME. YOUNG ARTISTS SEEMS TO HAVE ALMOST NO CHANCE IN THIS PROCESS, WITH MOST OF THE SUPPORT GOING TO WELL KNOWN ARTISTS. ALTHOUGH THE STATE SEEMS TO BE MAKING A CONTINUOUS SUPPORT FOR THE NATIONAL REPRESENTATION AT THE VENICE BIENNIAL.

FA -Some Turkish artists live abroad; is that because they feel the need timmigrate or because of a desire to travel?

KÖ – LET US DIVIDE THE LAND AND THE STATE HERE. ESP UNTIL THE 90S MOST ARTIST FELT A STRONG HATE TOWARDS THE TURKISH STATE AND THE TURKISH STATE HATED THEM BACK. THEY HAD TO LEAVE. THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE.

AS FOR THE COUNTRY OF TURKEY AND ITS SOCIAL STRUCTURES, MANY ARTISTS FEEL A LOVE AND HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH IT.  CERTAIN SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS SUCH AS CERTAIN ETHICAL VALUES SEEN IN MUSLIM CULTURES CAN LIMIT CERTAIN FORMS OF EXPRESSION, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND CERTAIN KINSHIP AND FRIENDSHIP RELATIONS, CHARACTERISTIC OF LESS INDIVIDUALIZED COMMUNITIES COULD BE THINGS THEY MISS ABROAD.

INFERIORITY COMPLEX HAS BEEN A MAJOR ELEMENT IN THE MOBILIZING OF THE YOUTH TO LEAVE THE COUNTRY. THEY OFTEN GO WEST OF VIENNA. NEVER TO THE NEIGHBORING CULTURES, AS ANYTHING RELATED TO THE MUSLIM OR BALKAN CULTURE SEEMS TO BE INFERIOR AND SOMETHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. THIS IS MAINLY THE OUTCOME OF THE PROBLEMATIC WESTERNIZATION PROCESS OF THE “YOUNG TURKS” MOVEMENT, ITS CONTINUATION IN THE PAN-TURKIST  “COMMITEE OF UNION AND PROGRESS” AND FINALLY ATATÜRK’S SINGLE PARTY RULE TURKISH REPUBLIC. HOWEVER, AS THIS IDEOLOGY IS DECLINING, IMMIGRATION IS REPLACED WITH A “LONG TERM STAY” ABROAD, WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF COMING BACK.

AT THIS PRESENT MOMENT ARTIST FROM TURKEY MOVE TO CITIES LIKE BERLIN FOR THE SAME REASONS LIKE ARTISTS FROM THE USA OR UK MOVE THERE.  NOT ONLY RELATED TO SOCIAL OR POLITICAL CONDITION OF THAT SPECIFIC COUNTRY BUT MORE BASED ON MORE AFFORDABLE LIVING AND THE EASY ACCESS TO A BOHEMIAN LIFE STYLE IN BERLIN.

ARTISTS CANNOT DO WITHOUT TRAVELING. IT IS PART OF OUR WORK.

Written by studioergun

September 7, 2012 at 7:26 am

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