AYKAN SAFOĞLU, HASAN ÖZGÜR TOP, HERA BÜYÜKTAŞÇIYAN
If you can’t go through the door, go through the window
Opening reception: Monday, January 18, 2016, 19:00–21:00
Exhibition dates: January 18–March 26, 2016
Opening hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 13:00–21:00
Alt Art Space presents If you can’t go through the door, go through the window, an exhibition that celebrates ingenuity, and the complex ways individuals negotiate the established order in order to participate in society. Featuring works by Aykan Safoğlu, Hasan Özgür Top, and Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, If you can’t go through the door, go through the window will be on view for Alt's inaugural season, which is dedicated to examining issues of authorship in art.
In the two-channel video installation Untitled (Gülşen & Hüseyin), 2015, Aykan Safoğlu traces the life story of his uncle Hüseyin, who immigrated to Germany to join the growing workforce of Turkish workers there in the early 1960s. On one screen, Safoğlu is seen directing his friend Gülşen Aktaş to pose as his uncle, in a recreation of an early photograph. Gülşen, who lives in Berlin, is prompted by the artist to participate in an exercise designed to elicit empathy for the character she is playing. The Turkish-born artist, who also lives in Germany, is looking for insight. The second screen tells of the ups and downs of Hüseyin’s life as a cleaning person, in the form of scrawled statements and drawings on a bathroom wall. The intimacy of the juxtaposed storytelling modes relates to Safoğlu’s own search for alternative modes of survival to meet the challenges of maintaining his identity in the face of dislocation and sexual bias.
Hasan Özgür Top’s installation A Gift from the Middle East, 2013, is composed of ceramic tiles patterned in the style of Islamic chinaware, but picturing violent images of the Syrian civil war. Top has repurposed disturbing images from Youtube—in particular, of the destruction of the Great Mosque of Aleppo—in a way that is intended to bring sensitivity to the subject, and to reverse the “numbness” of oversaturation. A Gift from the Middle East is part of a larger project by the artist: his proposed restoration of the Aleppo Mosque using these memorial tiles as a gesture of rebuilding that also acknowledges wounds that may never heal.
In Hera Büyüktaşçıyan’s sculptural intervention When things find their own cleft, 2016, red bricks spill out from a break in the white-cube exhibition space, evidencing the historical materials of the former factory building. The work is a fluid resurfacing of hidden histories—urban, social, individual, and political—resisting oppression simply in continuing to exist. It offers a metaphor for finding solutions, taking its name from the Turkish proverb “Water found its cleft,” which refers to how water flows under, over, and around obstacles on its way to the sea. When things find their own cleft reminds us that we too are living through renovations, and that being present is a resourceful response to the hurdles of contemporary culture.
Aykan Safoğlu, born 1984, Istanbul, lives in Berlin. Solo exhibition: Uqbar, Berlin, 2013. Selected group exhibitions: “Home Works 7,” Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, 2015; “Sight and Sounds: Turkey,” Jewish Museum, New York, 2015; “what is queer today is not queer tomorrow,” nGbK, Berlin, 2014. Selected screenings: New York Film Festival, 2014; Istanbul Film Festival, 2014; Images, recipient of On Screen Award, 2014, Toronto; International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, recipient of Grand Prize of the City, 2013. Safoğlu was a SAHA resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunste, Amsterdam, 2014–15. He holds an MFA in Photography from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, and an MA from the Art in Context program at Universität der Künste Berlin.
Hasan Özgür Top, born 1987, Ankara, lives in Istanbul. Selected group exhibitions: “The Ways We Stand By,” Proto5533, Istanbul, 2015; “Young Fresh Different VI,” Galeri Zilberman, Istanbul, 2014; “Border Orbits 16,” Siemens Sanat, Depo, Istanbul, 2014; “Mamut Art Project 2013,” Antrepo 3, Istanbul; “Two Shadows of the ‘Public’: Screen and Space,” Lothringer 13, Munich, 2010. Top was a participant in the workshop “Duygusal Düşünme” (Emotional Thinking), 14th Istanbul Biennial, 2015. He holds a BFA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Marmara University.
Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, born 1984, İstanbul, lives in Istanbul. Selected solo exhibitions: “Fishbone,” State of Concept, Athens, 2015; “The Land Across the Blind,” Galeri Manâ, Istanbul, 2014; “In Situ”, PiST///, Istanbul, 2013. Selected group exhibitions: 14th Istanbul Biennial, 2015; Armenian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, 2015; “A Century of Centuries,” SALT, Istanbul, 2015; “The Jerusalem Show VII,” Jerusalem, 2014; “Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment,” Arter, Istanbul, 2013. Residencies: Delfina Foundation, London, 2014; Villa Waldberta, Munich, 2012–13; AIRDrop, Stockholm, 2012; PiST/// Interdisciplinary Project Space, Istanbul, 2012; Yerevan Arts and Cultural Studies Laboratory, 2011. Büyüktaşçıyan holds a BFA in Painting from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Marmara University.
Alt Art Space presents visual arts, performance, and public programs, fostering collaboration across disciplines and cultures. Alt embraces and shares new forms of artistic expression that respond both to global concerns and changing conditions on the ground. Located at the center of bomontiada, a historic beer factory repurposed as a public social space, Alt aims to allow multiple authors to invest in and shape its future dynamics.