INTIMACY
"Fırat Arapoğlu - Dr. Seda Yavuz"

"Creating a false impression is the modern nightmare. Reputation is the modern purgatory.”

1 Theodore Zeldin, An Intimate History of Humanity
Life goes on as we need a second person / as we are getting weary of a second person; sometimes one of them is felt more than the other, and sometimes they are being felt simultaneously. The common ground for these two sensations is “fear”. If a child would not be scared, their acquaintance with fear will be more natural and less potent. However, the ones who play games of power on people need to scare people and make the fear real. Fear makes the relationship of a person with other individuals and nature more distant; people become lonely.
Intimacy originally means something is private, but its connotations like secret, hidden and disguised in daily use are not coincidental. As a matter of fact, intimacy has a dual semantic meaning: On the one hand it expresses a private matter that is not desired to be known, and on the other hand, something provocative and wondered. But, how can we make intimacy visible? Surely, we should not approach intimacy as a subject, and we should not make it seem like an object to be consumed.
Intimacy represents the indispensable walls of an individual, that way we become able to speak of an intimacy zone. While intimacy points at a private and subjective state within four walls, it also contains a kind of breach-of-secrecy, violated, mostly unbeknownst to the people, and creates irreparable damages. Sometimes, the privacy of an individual should stay intact in certain conditions, because what is intimate is also what makes the individual special and different. If it is breached once, this may create unrecoverable damages while rebuilding the intimacy once more.
As the name of the exhibition, “Intimacy” is important, not because it enters into the private spaces of artists, but because it makes possible to open the questions “What do we hide from others? Until when the ‘secrets’ of others are compelling? At which point ‘being different’ and ‘being other’ are differentiated?” to discussion. What is favored in the one-to-one discussions with the artists are new emphases beyond the first thing that comes to mind or on the verge of it. The indicators that are connected as the works at the exhibition are observed; they are the unique contrasts of colors and materials. Each artist puts their interest or apathy forward concerning what is “intimate” within their articulation and authentic identity. Exhibition aims to provide an experience similar to listening an atonal music piece with smooth transitions. Artists make the viewer feel the necessity to look at the piece closer, when they are observed closely. Especially the differentiation in the usage of materials, the movements required by the forms and the state of surrender to the coincidences when it is wanted to shut the coincidences out will make viewers come face-to-face with themselves. In this process, we have come across with questions we were afraid to ask ourselves, and we left the artist alone with our questions. The only thing that was left was to share.
The thirteen pieces of work in this exhibition is the product of this collaboration and mainly consists of installations and compositions.
Gökhan Deniz’s “Puzzle of Identity” turns the spectator into the experiencer on the one hand, and drags her to a puzzle where she delays giving answers and is afraid to face herself on the other. Next to the official questions, the artist transforms the questions that he asks himself into a game, also including the audience. Puzzle is a memory game; and in the abovementioned “puzzle”, the spectator/experiencer’s memory is aimed at her own privacy, she must take a closer look at herself.
Özgül Arslan writes the “process of art production” as erasing with a technique she devised. Deconstruction is the technique itself in Arslan’s works, and to witness one of the most private spaces and moments of the artist, transforms the viewer into a reader. The painting is now a little “secret”, the curious mind will realize with how much one is curious about oneself.
Ardan Özmenoğlu’s embroidery transforms the state of waiting into a simple message; just like these lines from Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”:
“Estragon: So long as one knows.
Vladimir: One can bide one’s time.
Estragon: One knows what to expect.
Vladimir: No further need to worry.
Estragon: Simply wait.”
Özmenoğlu finely embroiders the words “I am waiting for you”, and the interesting part is, there are no webs formed because of the waiting, but there is a debonair patience of waiting. Everyone meets their own style of waiting and patience.
Fulya Asyalı’s construction develops on the thin red line that is being old but not getting old. The used materials and the artist’s intervention recall the memories of used belongings. The plural allusions that an old mirror makes, in particular, invites the audience to experience different connections; the transient images of those who gazed into this mirror previously unite with our hidden feelings. Remembering Lautreamont’s line “the deceptive mirage of terror has shown you your own reverie”, everyone will rethink their own history’s backyard.
Woman and man are equal yet different, and Esin Turan makes a reference to a secret game that bonds men at this point. Her material, soap, strengthens the contrast between game and experience, supported by the sense of smell. As a woman, she makes up a phrase that involves other women; “I’ve never had a toy like this”. Now the audience’s perception has to go through the filter of male/female experience.
When you realize that some feelings that are within you and make you nervous do not actually belong to you, a strong sense of salvation replaces anger. Then, meeting the “you” that is beyond what is expected of you gives you relief. Seçil Büyükkan suggests that the audience experience the ever-changeability and the fact that every encounter is a new meeting with her relief-like composition.
“If you’d like to hide something, place it in the most visible place.” Likewise, one of the most intimate areas in the human body is the “mouth”. A person’s class used to be identified by a glimpse at his teeth. Since washing with water did not become a habit for a long time, the nasty odors were turned into nice ones with perfume. But you can’t do this with the mouth. Şenay Ulusoy takes what is human being’s supposedly most visible and most hidden body part and turns it into a sculpture with lily white cotton. The spectator should rethink this through!
And while this is all happening, what happens if the spectator is an artist? With her surveillance lenses, Beyza Boynudelik lets the curious ones say “I’m here!”, instead of those outside the door. Due to its constantly changing structure linked to the near-far relationship, the spectators must spend quality time with the “work” if they really want to see it. The relationship between the seen and the displayed is adamant on having the spectator experience a reciprocal tide.
Levent Morgök, while delivering an autobiographical love story, makes us the witnesses for “love”, the peak of intimacy. Mehmet Turgut, meanwhile, tackles intimacy via “body”, which is perhaps one of the biggest taboos. He visualizes a process which first starts as a professional photography shoot with a model and then turns into the intimate relationship between the photographer and the photographed. Mehmet Sinan Kuran’s work refers to Michel Foucault’s reading of “panopticon” as a modern agent of oppression that intervenes with privacy too much. Thus individuals who are actually monitored and are not aware of it but are eventually always “followed” are before our eyes. However, those who are aware are going through a worse version of this – or hell -, as the next stage will be the individual devising a self-censoring mechanism. Thus, as Seydi Murat Koç displays, we will reach an “electicon” city and surveillance will be in all parts of life. Lastly, Deniz Aktaş approaches intimacy through monochrome or color found-photographs and takes the spectators on a journey to the individual lives of every woman in the photographs.
The word intimate points out to a quality that every human being needs a quality that looks abstract but is rather quite alive and tangible. We seem to be describing a biological situation, but then we need to ask this question: If “life” isn’t breathing as anonymous alive creatures in the mundane and monotonous routine of everyday life, then how can we define each individual’s inner world and his perception of self-conception? To what extent can we talk about the freedom of the individual who is not in the position of decision making and applying, as life flows fast like a waterfall? In the light of all these, our purpose was to frankly pose the question “where do we stand?”. We will reach the verdict by experiencing this intense process of thinking. This is for all those who like to ask questions and are not content with the given answers.