press release

In the exhibition Who the f*ck is Halil Altindere? the Kunstpalais presents photographs, sculptures, objects and video works by Halil Altindere and with that offers a comprehensive insight into the artist’s work. As an artist, curator and publisher Altindere is one of the most important protagonists in the contemporary art scene in Turkey. In 2015 he is member of the International Short Film Jury of the Berlin Film Festival. In 2014 his video Wonderland (2013) was already part of the group exhibition Affekte at the Kunstpalais. Now the solo exhibition opens a wider view on the topics in his diverse oeuvre. His newest video work Angels of Hell (2014), which was created in co-production with the Kunstpalais, will be on show for the first time. In the style of an action movie good and evil fight until a lookalike of Atatürk together with a muscle-bound Miss Turkey blow up the gangster meeting. Based on the question of individual identity between modernity and tradition, city and province, authority and control Altindere analyses the mechanisms of living together in a society. Ironically and provocatively he uses symbolism and language of the system that he criticises: In Dance with Taboos (1997), an oversized copy of a Turkish banknote, he lets Atatürk cover his face with his hands. As a symbol for state sovereignty of interpretation of affiliation to a community Altindere also changes his own identity card and inserts another photo of himself (Dance with Taboos (ID), 1997). Inspired by daily life in the streets of Istanbul, Altindere in his younger works turns the gaze to the life of different subcultures: Miss Understood (2010), a former man, proudly and self-confidently presents herself in the Turkish national colors red and white. With this photograph the artist takes up the difficult situation of transsexuals in Turkey, where they are not accepted socially and also put at a disadvantage by the state. With the wax sculpture The monument of an illegal street vendor (2012) the artist memorializes a vendor of forged designer handbags and therewith another part of society that is often treated with contempt. Playing with beholder’s anticipations the works of Halil Altindere try stereotypical ideas and question the relationship between citizen and authority. Quite subversively and ambiguously he explores the role of art and artist in this context. In two photographs of his mother Altindere combines two important art movements of the 20th century with his own origin as a son of Kurdish parents. In My mother likes pop-art because pop-art is colourful (1998) and My mother likes fluxus because fluxus is anti-art (1998) he shows her in colourful clothes, cross-legged on multi-coloured pillows, reading a Pop Art and a Fluxus catalogue. The reference to historical as well as contemporary sources of western art and culture is to be found in other works by the artist as well. In Tips for artists who want to sell (after Baldessari) (2012) for example he expands John Baldessari’s list with criteria how an artwork should be composed to be sold for the best price. Altindere in this way also reflects his own role as an artist in the art market system. Accompanying the exhibition the Kunstpalais presents a broad programme for children, teenagers and adults. In cooperation with the Türkisch-Deutscher Solidaritätsverein Erlangen the Kunstpalais offers guided tours in Turkish for the first time. Workshops for all age groups give the possibility for creative working. Concluding the exhibition on March 22, 2015 a talk with Sabine Adatepe, editor of the book Gezi: Eine literarische Anthologie, takes place.