Horasan’s exhibition titled ‘Bum Spider’ will meet the art-lovers of Ankara at Gallery Siyah Beyaz between 06.04 – 08.05.2018. The artist interprets the human body and nature in his distinctive style in the exhibition. In Horasan’s paintings, human, animal, plant and nature forms emerge in a grotesque manner. The compositions of the artist where his graphic discipline can be traced brought the randomness and fiction together at his amorphous and nested figures. Horasan reveals the intricacy of color, stain, shadow details in his work that inherently contain plenty of coding and concepts.
MELIS GOLAR: In your paintings, the distorted images of human body and nature sometimes give dark impressions, sometimes expose grotesque visuals or even sometimes evolve into a completely cynical style. In short, the works contain both grief and joy. The title of the exhibition, ‘Bum Spider’ gives me the same feeling. Mischievous and creepy… Are we going to meet these two extremes in the show?
HORASAN : I think this is bilateral. Like pain and joy, funerals and weddings… In Emir Kusturica’s films this theme is pretty common; you see a bit of drama and a little bit of enthusiasm. This is the state that I’ve been in for a long time while I am painting. You can conceive something totally dramatic. Sometimes what you do as a dramatic can become grotesque, or what you do as horrifying can appear to be very harsh. I frankly feel better when I can bring out the humor and sarcasm from those. I made artworks that were merely dark, however there were always a witty and sarcastic side in them as well. I’ve been doing this for a while. Actually it may be related to my character. Some things can be hard for us in life, maybe it is a way to comfort myself. Maybe that’s why these two are always together. What I can tell specifically for this exhibition is that, in the last 5 years we became very serious, in terms of society, individually, we are incredibly serious emotionally and psychologically. Everything in our lives is now so far away from fun. Because we are losing our hopes in the first place, and we start to worry about losing our sense for the future. Of course this situation affects me like everybody. That’s why on one side I try to make fun and laugh on the other side I try to stand even with the seriousness of the work I do. I am both a part of the situation that I am in and I also look from the outside, and I live with it while I mock it. So, in fact, it’s a way of coping with life.
M.G. : The grotesque aspect can be seized in your deformedd figures. Do these figures also carry traces of legends, myths, gods and monsters?
H. : I do not have an intention to make these figures monstrous or beyond human. What I think is; the idea of every living being’s equality, equal vital apprehensions and equal freedom… We came to the cities and plundered many places. We ruined the natural life. We, as human beings, have declared ourselves so sacred that all living creatures apart from us come after us. This is not an acceptable understanding for me, neither can it be for the world. In fact, this is the point where we dragged ourselves by indicating superiority among the races and our constant assertion of one and only. We consume more, desire more, want more and we think that we are more valuable. Everything apart from us is worthless, nature is worthless, and other creatures are vain. What I want to say is; in fact we are no different than each other. In these geographies, in the sea, in the air, in every living place, every creature has equal rights. It is the man who broke the law. So it is us that determine this hegemony who go to Africa and plunder the most valuable animals there, kill the elephants, cut the fins of sharks just for food.
If we were to talk about monstrosity in this sense, we can really talk about humans, not natural life. Natural life continues its flow and everything is as it should be. However everything about humanity is beyond what it should be. I do not want to deal with the figure here by blessing humans solely. I do not want to see a body as a body in Greek mythology. I want to see that body within all the living creatures. That’s why; everything in that body, added to it, augmented or diminished in it, more than a grotesque attitude, is in fact a state of being all at one. This is my real concern. We always iconize the human. In fact, rather than humans we iconize the beauty of it, thus the social order today already emphasizes this. Everything is about beautiful, fit bodies, pretty faces are all referring to beauty. We are always in a mind state that we should evolve into that direction. Consequently, we are very much into consumption. Today the products of the world’s beauty industry and the position of the textile industry all are relevant to our desire to own them. While we are configuring, we are destroying something on earth as well and we do not want to see it. Because its consequences will arrive later on, we live by today. Is there also any fantastic world behind this grotesque story? There is. ‘If You Kill the Demon Inside of Me, You Kill the Angel Too’ (2010) exhibition was about this state of human’s ambivalency. The fact that man is not a single individual, the difference between evil and good in fact, is not really on the edge of a knife… I try to see both the good and bad aspects of humans all together, I try to stay neutral and not judgemental.
M.G. : You often express your source of inspirations from the art history and productions of other artists. Formerly, in your “Collision” and “Labyrinth” exhibitions you even presented your series of homage to the artists. The works I have encountered mainly were the ones you made references to foreign artists. Are there any names from Turkish artists that you have inspired from or worked on their work in this sense?
H. : My degree is actually in graphic design and I learned painting from painters. I have no academic education in the field of painting. I learned painting from other paintings. I learned it by taking photographs and making original prints. My interest in painting has started with the museum books my father bought me. It continued like a reflex. I learned by looking up, and constantly studying the books, I tried to imitate the paintings there. Actually I learned by copying. This is my way of learning to paint. Of course, there were no printed publications in our hands in the beginning. I’m talking about the 70’s. There were no printed publications in Turkish at all. There were no Turkish artists that could be seen. There were posters from the magazines called ‘Hayat’ and ‘Ses’ where I only could see the Turkish artists. I saw from there the old masters like Hasan Vecih, İbrahim Çallı, Hikmet Onat, Nazmi Ziya, but there was not too much from them. They were just posters. In short, while improving myself, I never neglect to be in a constant look. To me, learning from writers, poets, artists is a form of learning. I have not worked on homage to the Turkish artists, nor did I refer to them, which may be my weakness. When a book is being written it has to be built on the references. For us, ethically artists do not want to see any other contemporary artist in his/her own book. This is actually a problem. I do not know the reason behind it is perhaps related to our eastern society. Everyone is hiding their work area or material. They simply write mixed media on canvas and pass it over. However, when I look at the books in Europe, all of the materials are written one by one. I guess we tend to hide ourselves or tend to keep our secrets. There is this perception as if we are only looking to foreign artists and not looking at our own artists. Of course we all looked at our own artists. Perhaps we made works that we wanted to be like them, sometimes we even produced secretly, but I do not think anybody would unveil this truth. I now know that young artists can be influenced by my works as I was impressed by many artists; from both Turkish and foreign artists.
M.G. : What are the advantages and disadvantages of your education in graphic design?
H. : At the beginning it was a big disadvantage for me to have studied graphic design. When I started to participate in the competitions in the 80’s my production had a graphical base. At that time the approach to painting was totally contrary to the work I did. Because I do not use the paint like a painter, I use it as a graphic designer. I also use typography. All of these were first founded, very odd as they were graphic-based, so I was approached as eccentric. Being illustrative was used to be accused back then. Today it can not even be discussed or criticized. Having a narrative was despised. All of these were both positive and negative for me back then. If a person believes deeply in his work, respects, trusts in his work, does not have an understanding to find his/her direction according to the critics from the outside, then he/she prefers to act by his inner voice. I chose to conceive a story through my own inner world. Of course, it was not easy for me to get involved in the system in the beginning. It took 15 years to get into the system. The best part is; you are involved as a character within the system. But this is actually not enough for me. The wish to anchor me in a certain identity, blocks me and interferes with my personal space. It seems like a wall against my desire to produce and to innovate. Therefore I never give up trying. I do not care to carry a certain identity. Of course, one’s style is always there no matter what. Whatever you do, there is a ‘you’ very deep down. It always moves in some way, you can see its traces. There are certain situations in which you can not change the way you laugh, your intonation while talking, the way you walk. It accumulates. The advantage of getting educated in graphic design is that I get to work with a variety of different art disciplines. Photography, typography, print making… My works on paper gave me the opportunity to use many techniques at once. Actually, art has evolved to multi-disciplines and it is nice because you do not have to go with one discipline. You can make a sculpture and paint on it, or you can make an installation out of it, you can shoot a video or use lots of things side by side. There is always a time for every artist to be subjected to heavy criticism and not being accepted; that is a good life test. I think that the artist should decide whether to go on or not, in order to sustain his/her self-confidence, respect and desire to work.
M.G. : In one of your interviews you were talking about your constant habit of collecting materials, drawings, memories, objects for your artistic production. I think when these collections mount up in an impulsive manner, they evolve into an exhibition. Do the works depleted for you after the exhibition? Or do you change to the new collections? Or do you prefer to hold on and observe the interaction for a while?
H. : The idea of exhibiting is a very exciting idea for me. There is not a single way for me. Sometimes, they may be composed of my periodic works.”Bum Spider” is such an exhibition. I can describe the spirit of the exhibition with a single name. Sometimes I can sit down and focus on a subject, study it and read it. The same thing happened in the exhibition ”When the Time Comes”, I opened in London on the subject of getting old. In fact, each exhibition is a stop for me to test myself and I replace myself as a viewer. An exhibition of an artist should make me wonder, make me want to go. It could be a bad one, a bad movie or something badly expressed; doesn’t matter. I would still like to see that movie. I would like to see all the movies of Tim Burton, Lars Von Trier, because I know that Lars von Trier will present something different at each time; just as he presents to himself… If I do not feel excited, if I do not feel curious about my own exhibition, then there is no point at all. The exhibition should carry me from here to there, should put me into a transition, should evolve in itself and should produce other ideas… My ideology not only focuses on doing exhibitions, but first to create works. This is a very complex process. If you increase your motives, you will multiply the motives for your production. It is not my method to produce work on a single justification. Working on a specific topic may cause a mental block after a while. I am trying to multiply my own motives; I cultivate from what I read, my cultural reservoir, things I enjoy. I want to learn more, be more curious and to open up new discourses. Of course commercial wise it is risky. But I have already taken such a risk. If I do not want to work on a painting for that specific period; yet this studio has lots of works left unfinished in different eras; I might cover it up and pass to a new era. If the feeling is over, I am done with it. Sometimes I can return to it but this time is uncertain, if one day it comes and finds me asking to create again I might want to re-do it with a different dialect.
M.G. : What are your thoughts on the notion of creating an archive of your own as an artist and its presentation to society?
H. : Each artist has an archive of his/her own, a storage. Besides, there are things that artists collect such as; drawings, books, writings, notes… Shortly they have a serious preparation; everlasting and always multiplying. Sometimes you collect without knowing why you collect, you may collect intuitively, and sometimes you may collect consciously. If I look at the studio entirely as the inside of my brain, I have an opportunity to pull something out of it at any moment. I pick up lots of things and then mix the ones I like and then leave them back and repeat this process if necessary… That’s how I see the archive. On the other hand, it may be helpful to the society to see the artist’s work discipline and style. For example, I am interested in the art collection of one artist. When I go to his/her studio I wonder about their library because the library consists of one’s reading, curiosities, interests and likes. On the other hand, there is of course a practical side too. Sometimes people may forget where they are, what they do, they might lose their way. Archives are valuable to find the way. When you want to go deep down inside yourself, your collections, drawings, paintings and the library may help you. When you look back and review your notebooks, you realize what you have thought about that problem, and you may tell yourself that these used to be my concerns.
M.G. : Are there any developments both in our country or from around the world, that you feel as controversial as negative or one that you find as an improvement, as positive, in terms of art politics? Why do you think that these situations are transpiring these days? Where does Turkey stand in terms of your example?
H. : There is no such thing as a cultural policy, in other words the culture can not own a policy. Culture can not be defined by a policy or a political power. At least shouldn’t be determined by these. Culture is a notion that exits with its energy and aura formed by itself, developing, sedimenting, handing down. However we are living in an era where culture is commoditized and as all commodifications it is pumped up. There is no left or right in culture. A good poem is good poetry. A good picture is a good picture. A good picture can not be leftist or rightist. Today the cultural policies dictated to us are totally free from liberty, far from freedom, distant to clear thinking. Asking us to produce, in a certain way gradually taking our freedom away. Today in Istanbul, lots of space is gone. For example; AKM (Atatürk Culture Center). There have been many brave exhibitions held over there. Now there is no such public space on a such large scale where the artists could apply for an exhibition… There is no such institution. A lot of places like this were closed. These are cultural cut offs. Some do not want the field to be grown, they are trying to push us towards the other side. The artist is not an incapacitated person, he will keep producing despite everything. This continues to be so. If fascism or dictatorial regime comes to this geography, the artists will always produce. The artist can maintain his own energy, if he keeps himself outside the system and continues his production. I’m not having the ‘the state should help us’ mentality. I do not expect anything from the state. Because I know that when I will take something abroad, I first have to bring my works to the customs, it will be a big difficulty, the taxes, declarations of not for sale and some other procedures etc. There is enough burden behind me, hindering me not to go abroad. My efforts are not enough by themselves, therefore we can not talk about integration. I know that there are very valuable artists here, there are super fine productions, however we can not integrate well. And of course we get angry when the foreign artists are manifested and sold. Every system focused on multiplying his own fellows and their own opinion, everything else was tumbled. This is not an excuse, not to produce, despite all we will work, and we will try to keep our enthusiasm and our desire to be alive. We have such a big challenge however we still have to resist to exist. I must add, this is not a necessity; this is love. We can not talk about necessity here, it is not our business, it is our love, so it is a situation we are born into. The desire to do this job is so exciting and lively that we will continue to do so despite everything.
For more information; https://galerisiyahbeyaz.com/tr/gecmis/galeri-siyah-beyaz/2017-2018/serseri-orumcek