Ahmet Güneştekin

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Ahmet Güneştekin

Memory Chamber

PİLEVNELİ Project | Mecidiyeköy

December 6, 2019 – January 26, 2020

As of December 5, PİLEVNELİ Project presents Memory Chamber, Güneştekin’s the most comprehensive exhibition in recent years devoted to the artist’s imaginative and original uses of evocative objects in investigating the notion of memory politics. Sponsored by Daax Corporation, the show brings together the artist’s works from diverse medium offering new insights into his modes of arranging materials and fashioning his views through display practices. The exhibition will open to the public in Pilevneli Mecidiyeköy until January 26.

Memory Chamber includes artist’s both existing and specially conceived works for the show; the installations which evoke memories, ideas, thoughts and theories in their use of  the objects, and the video works which show the impact of language on thinking, providing an utterly distinctive perspective on what is natural about language and thoughts, with its surprising features. The exhibition also features the patchworks sewn by collecting and assembling ephemeral but evocative fragments into a layered form that can be read as a narrative, a new group of polychrome, grotesque or surreal ceramics, the works in which metal convex hemispheres integrated into paintings sculpturally, and predominantly large-format oil paintings which disrupt the genre of traditional painting.

The exhibition focuses on the ways the artist toys with objects asking the following questions: What are memories for? How do memories construct our past?  What makes an object evocative? How do we use objects to think through concepts, to identify with, or to embody memories?  Who decides how to recall the past?

Reminiscence Bump suggests that objects and spaces are active components of social and emotional relational networks. It aims to put forth a discussion about how objects and spaces do not only consist of surfaces that reflect subjective experiences and emotions, but they also bear depth that embeds all of these experiences. The installation is structured as a way to think about the objects as objects of mourning and memory referring one of the evocative objects of the artist’s childhood. Thus he grandly introduces the work’s key visual motif, the rubber shoes, shedding light on nonvisible subjects often difficult to see and requiring the light of truth, of knowledge, of memory, of justice.

Some objects are evocative, and they evoke strong memories and/or represent part of our identities. No matter what meaning they come to take on in our lives, objects are our life companions. The whole universe of concrete objects, as we know them, swim for all of us, in a wider and higher universe of abstract ideas, that lend its significance. The uses of objects and space, the feelings they arouse and the memories they evoke differ according to personal experiences, historical contexts, age and gender experiences. These aspects of evocative objects reveal their power intensely in the installation.

Memories become real with objects and space, and they often established between the collective and the personal. The object is mostly treated as one element of the subject-object dichotomy, which is defined through the subject. Unlike this perception, in Never There, the artist considers the object, not as an equivalent of the subject or the conscious but instead, as a prerequisite condition for their continuity. The work reminds the viewer that these non-living things that occupy the living spaces are not in a state of passive inaction but live a life of their own. We need objects more than they need us because they are the precondition of life. They too exist in place and time and transform the place they inhabit. this context, Never There is an inner crust that is confined by space and objects. As suggested by Pierre Nora, space and objects turn into lieu de mémoire (a site of memory) where memory is embodied.  Every object here is a material embodiment of a moment of the past.

The artist makes use of moving images to create compresses images concerned with language, always in harmony with histories and stories. In his videos, he frequently combines narrative imagery with language as an overall subject. In the video installations, Language, Denial and Whistle, the artist explores that exchanging ideas as an equal among equals, becoming communicative, and shaping the world around us are only possible when language is an instrument, in which the voice of the individual is heard and makes all the difference.

An artwork is open, there are many ways of looking at work, it is the viewers looking at the work who make the pieces using their own experience. That does not mean that we cannot think of objects and theories as separate things, rather, they are deeply intertwined. This also does not mean that all objects evoke memories, thoughts, ideas and theories, but at different times an object can be articulated to an idea to help make sense of the world. The brevity of the installation, Reminiscence Bump, naturally leaves the job of articulating the connections to the viewer. Nevertheless, reality is opaque; but there are certain points, clues and signs, which allow us to decipher it. Yet, all in all, evocative objects are a keen reminder to not forget about the things we think and live with.

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