Opening event: Saturday, August 29, 4:00-6:00 pm
Exhibition date: August 29-September 27, 2015
Open: Saturdays, 12:00 pm-6:00 pm; during Biennial week, open Thursday, Friday, Saturday
İMÇ 5. Blok No: 5533, Unkapanı-Istanbul
Proto5533 presents the first exhibition, in a series of emerging artist and curator projects, featuring the artist Mehmet Dere curated by Ilhan Ozan. The exhibition, titled Payback, brings together two site-specific sculptural works by Mehmet Dere that revolve around the social and economic significance of İstanbul Manifaturacılar Çarşısı [Istanbul Textile Traders Market] (İMÇ), a landmark that was built in the 1960s and is marked as a major example of Turkish modernist architecture.
Mehmet Dere’s Untitled I (2015) is an oversized reproduction of a ‘pay kuponu,’ which was a promotional coin offered by the daily newspaper Günaydın. This coin was implemented in the late 1960s and the early 1970s at the time when new structures for economic developments encouraging capitalist consumption intersected with national development plans. In this context, the work refers to the development of a modern lifestyle through the act of collecting and acquiring modern household items, as well as new consumption habits in relation to the necessities of urban life of this period. By reappropriating ‘pay kuponu,’ a medium of exchange in everyday life, Dere reveals the tension between the ‘modern utopia’ he questions and the social reality of urban life that was accompanied by urban gentrification, unemployment and social conflicts of the time. The installation of the work implies that the space of 5533 has been flipped, much like the coin itself, pointing to the unpredictable consequences of modernization and urbanization, which despite being seen as economic policies of the period did not bring intended prosperity.
Untitled II (2015), positioned outside of the exhibition space, is also an oversized reproduction, this time of ‘Fırdöndü,’ an object similar to a dice. It was played in games in Turkey dating back to the 1960s. Each of its six surfaces has a different command: ‘Put one,’ ‘Take two,’ ‘Put two,’ ‘Take one,’ ‘Everybody puts one,’ ‘Take all.’ ‘Fırdöndü’ is described in the Turkish Language Association’s (TDK) dictionary as ‘brass, six surfaced gambling tool played like a turning-top.’ Relevant to this context is Dere’s reference to taking and giving as well as the unpredictable action of a gam(bl)e. As an object, it also reflects the artist’s concerns with the social impact of financial psychologies. Additionally, the artist deals with the construction of national ideals and the physical constructions of urbanization by producing the work from cement - the primary building material of the era he evokes.
As Mehmet Dere’s practice is characterized by what is culturally and socially at stake in present-day Turkey, he traces the sociocultural and economic implications of these two found objects in the exhibition through correspondences with the devalued present state of İMÇ and its historical significance.
Born in 1979, Mehmet Dere graduated from Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Fine Arts Department of Painting, 2004. He is the founder of artist run space 49A and a member of K2 Contemporary Art Center in İzmir. Dere was awarded the special prize at the ‘27th Contemporary Artists Exhibition’ at Akbank Art Beyoğlu. In addition to his solo exhibition at Rampa Gallery, 2011; the group exhibitions he participated in include: ‘When Ideas Become Crime’, Tütün Deposu, Istanbul, 2010; ‘Port İzmir 2, Silence_Storm, International Contemporary Art Triennial’, Izmir, 2010; ‘I am Here, The Time is Now’, Rotterdam, 2008; ‘10th İstanbul Biennial Special Project’, Santralistanbul, 2007.
Born in 1987, Ilhan Ozan is a curator, researcher and writer. He received his Bachelor’s in Sociology at Marmara University, 2009; Master’s in Philosophy and Social Thought at Istanbul Bilgi University, 2012. He is a regular contributor to the artist-centered online publication m-est.org. He currently works in Research and Programs at SALT, Istanbul.
Proto5533 presents exhibitions by emerging artists and curators, with guidance from art professionals, mentor curators, from Istanbul and abroad. Proto5533 is a collaboration by Protocinema, an itinerant, site-aware art organization, protocinema.org, and 5533, an artist run space, imc5533.blogspot.com.tr, bringing together an active generation and providing the relationships and tools to nurture its meaningful growth. Selected Curators: Naz Cuguoğlu, Kevser Güler, Mehmet Kahraman, Ghaith Mofeed, Nicole O'Rourke, Ilhan Ozan, Ulya Soley. Mentor Curators: Celenk Bafra, Curator, Istanbul Modern, Istanbul; Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Övül Durmusoğlu, Independent Curator Berlin/Istanbul; Anthony Huberman, Chief Curator, Wattis ICA, San Francisco; November Paynter, Associate Director of Research and Programs, SALT; Yasmil Raymond, Associate Curator, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Mari Spirito, Director, Protocinema, Istanbul/New York; François Quintin, Director Fondation d'entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris.