Sunday, September 30, 2007

Haluk Akakçe until 06.10. GALERIST, Istanbul

Haluk Akakçe, who is known for digitally generated videos that draw from painting, sculpture, and architecture and often feature emotion-inducing sound tracks, is one of the best-known contemporary Turkish artists. His time-based works are caught in a cycle of endless transformation, their abstract details changing with an almost somnambulistic rhythm that moves between the seductive and the threatening. In this exhibition, the artist engages an unusual subject: the meaning of the word definition, which, he posits, has shifted from the rigidly codified to the fluid. Akakçe translates language into his characteristic floating shapes, complementing his video works with drawings and wall reliefs—each an attempt to condense the “constant changes” he identifies into a single object. The forms of the classical media in the exhibition range from severe to gentle, keeping the viewer at a distance. The videos, on the other hand, pull one ineluctably into their visual world. Their floating, slowly mutating shapes encourage in the viewer associative reveries, which are frequently interrupted by violent visual moments. Does this represent the static aspect of definition coming apart? If so, this change in its meaning would, unequivocally, entail a kind of liberation—and the optimism of such a promise is experienced throughout this visually and conceptually convincing exhibition. Sabine Vogel Artforum

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sara Sze until 22.09. Victoria Miro Gallery, London

The installation – Sze’s first with the gallery – spans both floors. The work on the ground floor is new to the gallery, while the piece on the second floor incorporates a reconfiguration of a recent work – Tilting Planet – initially shown at Malmö Konsthall, Sweden. Since the late 1990s Sarah Sze’s signature sculptural aesthetic has presented ephemeral installations that penetrate walls, suspend from ceilings and burrow into the ground. Creating immense, yet intricate site-specific work the artist utilises a myriad of everyday objects in her installations – cotton buds and tea bags; water bottles and ladders; light bulbs and electric fans. Each piece is subject to Sze’s careful consideration of every shift in scale between the humble and the monumental, the throwaway and the precious, the incidental and the essential. In this new body of work Sarah Sze organizes space as if it is a remnant of human behaviour discovered by accident. The formal construction of the pound-store objects as rafts, nests, tents, and escape routes mimics the necessities that emerge from various survival mechanisms and states of refuge. Like an entire ecosystem, these individual objects participate in larger systems of interaction performing a role beyond their commonplace function.