By Heidi Trautmann
International Contemporary Art Exhibition 2011. That is the title of the exhibition at Naci Talat House in Nicosia opened on 15 June, and a never seen crowd of viewers of all ages had come to attend, artists, young artists mostly, students from the fine arts departments but also the older generation, all had come to see contemporary art in its true sense of meaning. What is contemporary art? First of all it is the evidence of modern art education, not just to reproduce but to grab the deep meaning behind a situation, a momentum, a sensual experience where the whole being of the maker is involved, also his social conscience. Recording of time, space, different cultures in its own right, identity and the uncovering of the most inner self, the deploring of social and political situations. Nothing to hang on the wall or decorate your rooms with. These 21 artists from six different countries tell you moving stories in their own way. Bäng! Freedom of expression in different disciplines, video art, photography, installations, a language by itself, paintings, ceramics, written statements, everything to make visible the influences we are submitted to in our modern world. One artist, Ahmet Özgünel, is demonstrating the labyrinth of consumption, will we find a way out? A.J.C. Cruz with his video installation exploring interventions in nature and creation of spaces. One photographic installation which impressed me was by Ceren Selmanpakoğlu, and her demonstration of disappearance of the individual in the jungle of political authorities left no questions open. Another video installation by Doğuz Kozal – he calls it solidarity – where one man builds up endlessly a heap of nutshells from the nuts he nibbles and another coming by and clearing it all away, all starting again from the very beginning, endlessly showing the structure of society. Eser Keçeci calls her work Traces of Life represented by the migrating white skeletons of pampas bushes blown over the plains by the wind as installation in the room dedicated to Fikret Demirağ in the Naci Talat House. Gökçe Keçeci Şekeroğlu asks us ‘how many states fit in a lifetime?’ questions of identity and place of birth. Güneş Acur with her interpretation of loneliness, the individual alone in its room. In one other room there was a roundabout painting by Piotr Perski along the four walls of the room, a sight of all Nicosia seen from the highest building, 20 cm x 15 m, and you had to lie down on a mattress to be at eye level.
Serhat Selışık worked on the question Existence and Power, life behind the bars of convention, relation between strong and weak. Sinem Ertaner confessed: I don’t want to be like the others, let me be the way I am with her miniscule installation of her dream self.
There are so many others I would like to mention and wonder about their philosophies, for example Vedia Okutan with her childhood memories, the plays one has played and the truths which were true then.
Hereafter I will list the artists with their date of birth and place where they come from, to get a feeling of the age group.
Ahmet Özgünel, 1980, Nicosia; Alejandro J.C.Cruz, 1977, Colombia, Ceren Selmanpakoğlu, 1977, Ankara; Christina Christofi, 1984 Nicosia, Chrysanthi Farmaka,? Nicosia, Doğuz Kozal, 1988, Nicosia; Eser Keçeci, 1980, Nicosia, Gökçe Keçeci-Sekeroğlu, 1978 Nicosia; Güneş Acur, 1975 Istanbul; Nurtane Karagil, 1989 London; Özge Mercan, 1974 Nicosia; Özge Refik Kutsay, 1978 Nicosia; Pembe Gaziler? Sydney; Pjotr Perski, 1971 Poland; Serhat Selışık, 1975 Nicosia; Sinem Ertaner, 1976 Lefke; Sue Storry?; Sümeyye N. Ünver?; Seniz Günyol, 1951 Turkey; Ugur Baçeci, 1981 Nicosia; Vedia Okutan Gaydelerö 1980 Nicosia.
Pembe Gaziler is the curator of the exhibition and she did a great job in setting up this exhibition over the entire space of the beautiful Naci Talat House. Supporting partner is EU Info Point in the framework of the European Union.
The exhibition will close on June 24. The recently renovated Naci Talat Peace House, not far from the Selemiye Mosque and the Hasder Folk Art Institute, which for the first time opened its doors to an art exhibition, was recently used for poetry readings, a place where late Fikret Demirağ has found a room for himself.