Critics’ Picks

View of “The Semi Aware Subject,” 2013. Erdem Taşdelen, Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So (No 1), 2013, lorikeet, steel birdcage, vinyl wallpaper, dimensions variable.

Istanbul

Erdem Taşdelen

Galeri Non
Tomtom mahallesi Nur-i-ziya sokak no.16 Beyoğlu
January 4 - February 22

The 1981 manual How to Photograph People defines the “semi-aware” subject as one who understands that he or she may be photographed, but never knows at which precise instant. (Think of a performer on stage or an athlete mid-competition.) Staking a claim on the term, Erdem Taşdelen offers this exhibition as a portrait of the artist as a young semi-aware subject. He first tallies the various postures available to him in Erdem Taşdelen, 2011, a set of forty-eight brightly hued business cards, assigning the artist dubious designations like WALKING CLICHÉ, TACTLESS OPPORTUNIST, or DESOLATE BIBLIOPHILE. The vanity of the exercise (and its Technicolor charade of self-deprecation) is underscored by its juxtaposition to You You You, 2012, a chronological compilation of every occurrence of the word you in Kylie Minogue’s discography. The seven-minute sound piece is triggered to play any time a viewer steps into the accompanying spotlight, thereby transforming the subject into the you the pop star so convincingly desires.

The exhibition reaches a new level of awareness with Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So (No 1), 2013. The installation reworks part of Marcel Broodthaers’s ne dites pas que je ne l’ai pas dit – Le Pereroquet (Don’t Say I Didn’t Say So – The Parrot) from his 1974 retrospective at Antwerp’s iconic Wide White Space, in which a talking parrot repeated the same phrases from Broodthaers’ poem of the same name over and over as a parody of the retrospective and its rehashes. Taşdelen’s update performs Broodthaers almost as if in drag. The parrot––now a rainbow lorikeet––cannot talk, but chirps an imitation. Taşdelen has covered the room with lollipop stripes in the same vibrant palette as the lorikeet itself, settling the bird into comfortable conversation with its surroundings, if not with the viewers. As a stand-in for the artist, the pretty bird reminds us just how self-aware the semi-aware subject must be.