This exhibition presents a video each from two artists, Fatma Bucak and Rä di Martino, drawing together a dialogue around theatricality, audience and medium.
Exhibited as a sort of ‘call and response’ each work will be given the entire gallery space for three weeks. For the first period of the exhibition Fatma Bucak from Turkey will present ‘Suggested place for you to see it’, a video that makes the audience from a performance into the subject of a work. Here a camera is fixed on a group of thirteen Turkish-Kurdish women who are witnessing a performance executed by Bucak herself with her brother, in which she revisits the genesis myth of the monotheist religions, transforming the stage into a negotiation of gender politics. Throwing mud and ribs at the apparently indifferent man, the scene is set in a Salt Lake in Ankara and recalls the symbolism of salt as an element to conserve, clean and cook - all attributes stereotypically associated with the traditional female role. Translated from Turkish in subtitles, the women’s unadulterated comments and reactions to the artist’s performance become the content of the work itself, ranging from more immediate reactions such as ‘Perhaps the boy just won’t marry her?’ to more in depth discussions introduced by the symbolism: ‘The Imam said that it’s not true. Just a story! – I mean, creation out of a rib is not true.’ By removing the view of the performance in this presentation the theatrical aspect of the work is made explicit by implication, through the device of the audience.
In the second period of the exhibition Italian, Rä di Martino will present ‘August 2008’. Supported by FLACC (Belgium), Di Martino painstakingly composed the interior of a villa as a sort of tableau vivant, decorated in the fashion of the 50’s, in a nod to a past era of Hollywood production. Rooted to the spot and almost unflinching in their composition, the actors sing all of the headlines from August 2008. Anachronisms create an uncomfortable tension between what we see and what we hear in each video but in both cases there is a subtle humor at work. Like Bucak she creates an almost palpable friction between a fictional scenario of her orchestration and a dialogue that is somehow more global and uncontrolled. Just as the comments of the women reveal certain cultural entrenchments in Bucak’s audience, only to surprise us with others, Di Martino’s characters relay an entire month of headlines revealing only one positive news story; Michael Phelps latest gold medal.
Connecting ‘August 2008’ back to the considerations of audience in ‘Suggested place for you to see it’, Di Martino pulls back from her two actors to end the video, only to reveal that an elderly lady has apparently borne witness to this frozen ‘moment’. Inserted into a strangely rigid, painterly composition where it does not belong the news headlines form a kind of narrative within the suggestion of a narrative. Recalling Bucak’s audience trying to make sense of her performance, here we are left to decode the interaction between the man and women suggested in Di Martino’s composition.
18 March - 3 April:
'Suggested place for you to see it', Fatma Bucak
8 April - 25 April:
'August 2008', Rä di Martino