17 Haziran 2008 Salı

Erkan Özgen creates mainly video, which either record performances of political content or staged snapshots of everyday life. Most of his actions take place in Diyarbakir, an area bearing traces of the conflict within the Kurd communities.Living and working in Diyarbakir, a small town in Eastern Turkey where a significant nucleus of artistic activity has been developed on the initiative of Turkish curators and artists as well as the support of the western-European scene which shows remarkable interest in such “alternative” discourses, Özgen elaborates on the political by means of documentary representation, by examining the issues of “eastern” and “western” orientation and the position of the artist within such a heavily-loaded landscape. The post-traumatic experiences of this exploration and the possibility of resistance against dominant political discourse are reflected on the performative qualities of his enactments. At the same time, the supposed breakthrough, the search for the way to the west is being scorned in the video The Road to Tate Modern on which Özgen and his associate Sener Özmen, dressed in suits start their long Don-Quixotic jurney from the mountains of Derik towards on horseback respectively.

On the video Lost Body (2004) the camera follows a young boy’s legs as he rolls a plastic football in the narrow streets of a village. The heavy, military boots he is wearing and the claustrophobic, labyrinth-like space constitute a direct reference to the authoritative manipulation of the body. Football culture in Turkey is closely associated with the role of the army as it is a majorfactor of popularity and stereotype collective identity. The executionerplayer remains faceless throughout his short drive as he leads the cheap ball with soft, almost careless kicks to the point where the way ends. The game on the Stone-paved streets is a staged essay on the mechanisms of discipline that ironically comments on the collective euphoria of tradition and the common language of the spectacle.

Despina Sevasti

It was puplished in 1st Athens Biennial Catalogue 2007

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