Curator M. Kıvanç Gökmen quotes Jean Luc Godard: Children are political prisoners
The group exhibition titled Another Day Another Life investigates ‘being a child’ as a choiceless existence within the framework of social, cultural and physical impacts. Kasa Gallery in some ways is a perfect space for such a show. The space is the basement of a former bank. In 1998 Sabancı University started its initial operations at the Minerva Han, a landmark historical building, built as a bank at the beginning of 20th century. The original built-in vault situated at the basement of Minerva Han has been transformed into an art gallery under the name “Kasa Galeri”.
The three artists, Ferhat Özgür, Knutte Wester and Dejan Kaludjerovic, are using each a single vault for building up installations intermixing the political, economic and social paradoxes of children and the notion of being a child in the context of their home-countries. This article puts a focus on Ferhat Özgür’s and Knutte Wester’s presentations in the perspective of juxtaposing the extreme asynchrony of realities in the stage of current world-politics.
Ferhat Özgür’s site-specific installation is titled ‘Nowhere Land’. It comprises ready-made and waste materials, which focuses on the destruction of historical and cultural memory in certain areas in Turkey. While the location isn’t mentioned in the exhibition it points on the buffeted Southeast of Turkey, where children are mostly exposed to be deprived of fundamental rights and freedoms, exiled and stuck between the walls, in the middle of never-ending wars, constructions, stationary social prejudices and discrimination. The black and white Vintage esthetics of the photographs give a hopeless vision of a timeless agony. It has been like this for centuries and there is no hope of any progress.
“A Bastard Child” is an animation documentary by Swedish artist Knutte Wester. In an age where Sweden is seen as a model country, the audience is reminded of this very dark past. In 1909 in an undemocratic Sweden Hervor is born. Her mother is unmarried, and therefore labelled a ‘whore’ and driven from her home. Hervor grows up in shelters and orphanages, unwanted and rejected by society. When she becomes an adult, she fights for women’s rights and social justice for children. Knutte Wester spends his childhood listening to his grandmother Hervor’s stories, which are much more vivid and true to real life than typical children’s stories. Wanting to put attention on his grandmother’s fate, Wester creates hundreds of watercolours based on the stories he heard as a kid and creates animations of how Swedish society deals with single mothers and children born out of wedlock in the early 20th century.
The exhibition “Another Day Another Life” sensitively examines that societies always seem to feel the need to create outcasts as a way of uniting its members in different environments. The set up of the show in the basement of a former bank and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the vaults gives the presentation a very melancholic but truthful touch. While Wester’s work is remembering the past, Özgür is orchestrating the present tense of time. Presented together the exhibition points on an ongoing inequality of the realities of children in the world. Paradigms of illegitimacy and legitimacy arise from an international multilayered perspective. A rising gap between life circumstances won’t serve worldwide peace. The existence of exclusion and violence in the basement of the world community includes deep cellars with growing nightmarish memories of children waiting for liberation or seeking for revenge.
Kasa Gallery, Istanbul, 9.1.-23.2.19