ÇIN is a high stand, a stage, an agora, an arena or a stadium that has been erected in the Sala d’Armi at the Arsenale. It has a sort of scarcely noticeable cage on one side, and everything is wrapped in a sound that incessantly loops in an infinite variety of combinations. The result is a rhythm, a pulsation, a series of reverberations – a dense architecture of sounds.
Only a few barely audible words emerge from this ensemble: “An individual’s voice growllllllhhhhrrrr…” with an exaggerated expansion of the sound at the end. And then “zang tumb tumb”: an onomatopoeia in the style of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, evoking drumbeats and drum rolls on a battlefield. Paraphrased as a parody, they are the sound of a hypertrophic ego that becomes the paradox of a subject who claims to represent a community (an entire country). But they are also the noise that rises from a restless area – perhaps an urban zone such as Istanbul. The rest is a composition of softer sounds, a kind of widespread tinnitus, a disturbance, a buzzing, a turbulence, and a series of visual reflections that filter in through the windows.
Cevdet Erek is the artist entrusted with the Turkish Pavilion for the 57. International Art Exhibition in Venice. Born in 1974, he studied architecture and then sound engineering and design in Istanbul; he played with a rock band before turning to experimentation and taking part as a composer in several film productions. His works take shape as a confluence of sounds, space and time. For any artist, representing one’s country at the Venice Biennale is a great commitment. But in this historical moment, the Pavilion of Turkey constitutes an even more particular challenge.
The result is a reflection on the effects that political situations can have on individuals’ personalities. And at the same time, it is an expression of the collective hardship currently felt by a part of the country which has been deprived of its voice. It is a unexpected, subtle yet bold work.
The installation is accompanied by a square leaflet (like the square record sleeves that inhabit the memory and imagination of a music lover), featuring a text that is only apparently enigmatic: “Eliminate direct signal,” “Hear repercussions,” “No cure,” “Face history or keep on masking it”…
Çın uses an encrypted language, as art does when it finds itself confronted by shrinking spaces of expression. But it is a way to reflects moods, to give shape to the submerged, and to take part in present history.
The Pavilion of Turkey has been organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), which is also responsible for the Istanbul Biennial, scheduled for September. That will be another challenge, in these times when spaces of expression are shrinking and art must also find new energies and new, non-obvious languages.
© all rights reserved
until 22 November 2017
Cevdet Erek, Çın – Pavilion of Turkey
57. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte
Arsenale, Sale d’Armi, Venice
Advisory Board: Ali Kazma, Başak Doğa Temür, Özalp Birol, Paolo Colombo, Zeynep İnankur
Commissioner: Istanbul Foundation of Culture and Arts (IKSV)