Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turkish Wrestling

Sandra Issa
Turkish Wrestling, 2007
2 Artist books, 30 x 20 cm and 15 x 10 cm, unique edition
7 inkjet prints on fine art paper, 30 x 21 cm each, edition of 10.

This project was exhibited in Art/World/Disaster exhibition at the AUB Byblos Bank Gallery 

October 2007. "NOT ONLY POSSIBLE BUT ALSO NECESSARY OPTIMISM IN THE AGE OF GLOBAL WAR". This slogan is posted everywhere in the streets of Istanbul. Hanged on walls and poles, it is suspended above people’s heads. People in the streets are shouting with their fist in the air. This slogan is the title of the 10th International Istanbul Biennial and these people are Turks who encourage their Government to attack the PKK, the Kurdish separatist party.

While walking in the streets of Istanbul, this contrast seems awkward. I try to understand these two contradictory realities together. I remember a film directed by Maurice Pialat about the Pehlivan that describes the Turkish national sport: the oil wrestling. Combining these elements in an artist book and photomontage prints, the result is a strange image of the city.

On one hand, the biennial curated by Hou Hanru, announces optimism as a necessity in these times of global war. It shows the works of artists who are supposed to be the actors of a fight for the democratic modernization of the world. On the other hand, streets of Turkey are demanding a war that seems for them as a necessity to solve problems, to allow a different optimism. Visions of the world are confronting each other’s but all want to achieve a necessary change.