press release


Erken bahar means 'early spring' in turkish.

Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center focused on Turkish contemporary art. 10 artists presented art that focused on aspects of content, where the expressional form was concentrated on new media: installation art, photography, video and performance.

The expressions used by the artists was characterised by a richness of meaning and a symbolic content which refered to the ambiguous nature of Turkish culture, which geographical and cultural point of orientation is placed between the Middle East and Europe.

Thematically many of the artists circled around urban life - political and cultural subcultures, the conflict between the cultural differences in rural and urban life and the sense of reality given through the saturation of urban signs.

The exhibiting artists also had another focus, more sensuous, though loaded with meaning. From an expression of sensual satisfaction coloured by desire, to a concept of pain with emotional overtones, the artists moved through a visual universe, drawing the viewer into a world of imagination where empathy became a vital element. To a greater or lesser extent, all the works of art contained the above themes. Common to all of them is that they were not what they first seemed! There were a many layered depth of meaning, referring to a psychological, social, cultural and political reality.

Halil Altindere has previously made very political works, which take their offset in his Kurdish background. The exhibition presented works of a more subtle nature, which with humorous solemnity set up contradictions.

Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin partly presented works which focus on urban signs, the icons of popular culture and ambiguity (Lovelace), and partly works from his Jules Verne series, which is set in the area around the Black Sea.

Selim Birsel worked with maybe fictitious memories, associated with war and poverty. He focused on human traces, or remains, left behind after a human presence. In a way he staged something traumatic, shown in a universe of gloom.

Esra Ersen used Turkish everyday life as her starting point, but also included the geo-political situation. She has often worked with the clash between cultures and the feeling of estrangement, for example when she a couple of years ago dressed a German school class in Turkish school uniforms. At the exhibition she showed a journey over the Strait of Bosporus from Europe to Asia.

Gülsün Karamustafa has likewise worked with consciousness of the meeting between cultures which takes place in Turkey. The exoticism and mysticism which the West project onto Turkey are expressed in feministic works which enter into a dialogue with the masculine Western view.

Aydan Murtezaoglu bases her work on modern Turkish culture. She often positions herself in the center of her photographs and videos, which show the individual with his or her memories, geographical and cultural sense of belonging and identity - using Istanbul as her starting point.

Serkan Özkaya made a site specific project, which was not able to be realised, but the documentation on the project became a work in itself. Based on the classical statue of a rider on a horse, he constructed a model of a huge cavalry soldier on an undersized horse.

Ebru Özseçen exhibited the work of art Kitchen Fantasies, among other things, which consisted of series of videos and video stills which depicted making food. The focus was not so much on the recipe, but more on touching the ingredients, a representation of sensuality to observe and participate in.

Bülent Sangar has for the last few years worked with an image loaded with meaning, basically using himself as an individual to characterise Turkish culture. He showed some of the cultural schisms which arise in the meeting between town and country, but he also works with hidden meanings.

During the nineties, Hale Tenger has worked with art which comments on the political reality of today's Turkey. From strongly critical to more subtle works, she focuses on the pain of the individual. Memory, triggered through installations or videos, is also a central element in Hale Tenger's works.

After dark has fallen, one could see the exhibition Slideshow Gallery in the window of the shop Intermezzo, Kompagnistræde 16, Copenhagen. Slideshow Gallery was part of the exhibition which took place in the urban environment - a slide show established by Serkan Özkaya. The project was exhibited previously in New York, Istanbul and Madrid, among other places.

The exhibition curator and editor of the catalogue was Sanne Kofod Olsen; Lene Crone was project co-ordinator.

only in german

erken bahar / early spring
Kurator: Sanne Kofod Olsen

mit Halil Altindere, Hüseyin Alptekin, Selim Birsel, Esra Ersen, Gülsün Karamustafa, Aydan Murtezaoglu, Serkan Ozkaya, Ebru Özsecen, Bülent Sangar, Hale Tenger