The CA2M hosts the first exhibition of Halil Altindere in Spain

Halil Altindere shows the contemporary side of Turkey
Madrid - MAY 23, 2013

Halil Altindere is a name that will come up increasingly more in the global art scene after Turkey being guest at ARCO 2013 and the Istanbul Biennial. The CA2M, located in Madrid, brings a show of this Turkish artist born in 1971. It is the first time we can see his work in Spain, curated by Ferran Barenblit.   

Through various formats: video, painting, photography, installation and sculpture, Altindere speaks of contemporary Turkey, the interweaving of the traditional with the modern, Western with Eastern. His works point out key problems of contemporary societies, problems that cross social debates, almost regardless of where on the globe we are looking at.
Halil Altindere shows the contemporary side of Turkey
©Halil Altindere, No man's land
In MOBESE, Altindere reproduces security cameras installed in the Taksim Square in Instambul and covers them with brillant gold. Not only does he try draw attention to what is installed in public spaces to go unnoticed, but he uses irony to present control on a silver platter. He seems to say that, unfortunately, if the wrapper that covers control strategies of the institutions of power is attractive, we tend, almost automatically, to accept it and integrate it better in our lives. MOBESE he captures what Nuria Enguita calls "calming strategies," according to which control is desirable and necessary. He converts this discourse into an object easily recognized by people of different cultures and contexts because, ultimately, capital is the ideological mechanism behind many of these strategies. 

In the same way in Boxing bag we are left with a sense of scam, that feeling of "fantasy broken". A boxing bag in the middle of the room, hyperrealistic. Nothing separates the viewer from the artwork, there are no ropes to limit the space and tell us how we should act. It seems that the artist hopes to we unload our anger on the bag, and what is our surprise to learn that it is made of marble.

In Who are you looking at?, Altindere provides the viewer with a pair of glasses that he must put on and, through this device, watch a video that the artist recorded himself walking the streets of Istanbul camera in hand. The pedestrians, far from taking on a fun and tolerant attitude, constantly argued with camera man, even attacking him physically.
Halil Altindere shows the contemporary side of Turkey
©Halil Altindere, Mirage

No sabemos a qué responden los ataques que observamos en el vídeo, ya que nuestra actitud es pasiva, y sin embargo la gente nos ataca a nosotros como espectadores, es a nuestros ojos a los que miran para insultar. Who u looking at? reengancha también con MOBESE. Paradójicamente no se consiguen las mismas reacciones cuando una cámara está en lo alto de un poste que cuando ésta se sitúa al mismo nivel de aquellos a los que grabamos. Obtenemos así una respuesta bastante más desafiante y cargada de odio cuando en realidad este acto es potencialmente menos peligroso que una cámara panóptica.

En The monument of Illegal Street Ventor, Altindere crea una escultura de un vendedor negro del Top Manta, de pie, vistiendo una sudadera de una conocida marca de ropa de deporte, y a sus pies una ristra de bolsos falsificados de otras tantas marcas de alta costura. Su presencia en una institución museística y el rápido reconocimiento de esta figura fruto de los tiempos posmodernos nos confirma la “aldea global” en la que vivimos. Al presentarnos tanto el personaje como los bolsos dentro de la misma escena nos está llamando la atención sobre cómo dos cosas totalmente distintas, una persona y unos objetos, son categorizados con la misma etiqueta referente a su ilegalidad o falsificación. Parece hablarnos de un nuevo “fetichismo de la mercancía” donde ya no son los productos “verdaderos” los que otorgan estatus, cualquier producto es válido siempre que sea el simulacro del verdadero. Otra vez la farsa, otra vez el engaño.

Halil Altindere shows the contemporary side of Turkey
©Halil Altindere, Homage a Mladen Stilinovíc
In Das Kapital, we discover inside the work of Marx a hole with a pistol. The viewer can do nothing but smile at the way Altindere shows the equivalence between capital and violence. In Homage to Mladen Stilinovic, he reappropriates the phrase that the artist Stilinovíc took from the Yugoslav dictator Tito, "An attack on the legacy of the Revolution is an attack on socialism and progress", converting it into "An attack on my art is an attack on socialism and progress. " Altindere, on a red background with a comic book aesthetic framing the sentence in a sandwich, so that every spectator can stand underneath it, becoming the issuer of the message, as if to turn us all into little dictators, and in turn taking it up to ridicule on the basis of repetition and displacement of that initial sentence. Deeply critical but in a humorous way he points out the flaws in the system, away from the propagandistic style.
Halil Altindere shows the contemporary side of Turkey
©Halil Altindere, My mother likes fluxus, because fluxus is anti-art
In the exhibition we can see two of the most celebrated works of the artist: the photos to his mother in the household dining room. In the first we see a Kurdish woman reading a catalog of Pop Art, My mother likes pop-art, because pop-art is colorful. In the second we see the same scene except that the woman is reading a catalog of Fluxus, My mother likes fluxus, because fluxus is anti-art. Both titles give us the key: now the interpretation and assimilation strategies are outside of the academy and of the great art discourses to be featured by a woman, the mother of the artist, who reinterprets in her own parameters and under her own tools. In the end, Altindere speaks of a changing world, in the words of Farren Barenblit, he is "an artist that generates discussion and conflict, which makes us doubt socially accepted meanings. His works are activated by seeking a connection with the audience, needing of the public for new meanings to take effect."

Halil Altindere. CA2M. Móstoles, Spain

Elena Herrera Quintana

Other news that may interest you

Visitors opinion

Please share your opinion with us.

For full information on our approach to users' comments on our site, please see our publishing policy.