Turquerie - Contemporary Istanbul 5-10 October 2021
In the age of mechanical production, we live in, the ground is quite slippery. We are going through times when we must keep up with innovations and developments in constant motion. With the effect of technology and globalization, which were among the biggest players of this period, intercultural information flow and object transfer were ensured, and as a result, global values emerged. The increase of production together with the industrial revolution not only brought objects to standardization but also caused the industrialization and standardization of culture in line with their interests. The culture, which lost its originality, was dragged towards its extinction with the destruction of the individual and the local in contemporary life.
The cultural remnants of the geography, where the Turks are widely rooted in the World, were once living their golden age by hosting wealth and diversity. The Turquerie movement, which was the focus of Western Europeans from the 16th to the 18th centuries, focused on the local productions and art of the Turks; it became famous in a structure that adopted exotic and original values from music to architecture. Cultural riches unique to Turks, such as Turkish carpets, tulips, tiles, and mosaics, were envied by Europeans and tried to adapt them to their own lives.
Our cultural elements, which our globalizing world order has made uniform, have been lost and embraced by other countries over time. Mr. Besk takes his audience on a journey through time with a critical approach to this situation. This journey is a mixture of future, past and present, with no beginning or end. With respect and passion for his own culture, the artist added each carpet and tile he used on his canvas to his journey by contacting local manufacturers during his visits to Anatolia. The diversity and the richness of the materials allow the canvas to take on a new identity. This identity reminds and updates all the values standardized and destroyed by the mechanical production age.
By sometimes placing commodified popular culture figures in the center of the canvas and sometimes making objects representing consumer culture visible, he removes the border between inside and outside. Iconic heroes are often funny, clumsy, and naive relatively human figures such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, as well as powerful ones such as Batman and Captain America, who are settled in the memory of the masses in comics with the logic of “savior”. These figures can be cultural saviors, or they can be culture destroyers. The duality and humorous aspect of the works is an extension of the graffiti discourse that Mr.Besk has been producing in the public sphere for many years. Mr.Besk is a cultural worker who advocates reviving ourselves and the values that make us who we are in the age of mechanical production we live in. As in production practice, Mr.Besk follows “respect for respect” and trades respect for the masses.
Curator Ayca Okay