Critics’ Picks

Garden, 2007, still from a color digital video with sound, 9 minutes 22 seconds.

Garden, 2007, still from a color digital video with sound, 9 minutes 22 seconds.


Haluk Akakçe

Meşrutiyet Caddesi No:67 1st Floor
September 6–October 6, 2007

Haluk Akakçe, who is known for digitally generated videos that draw from painting, sculpture, and architecture and often feature emotion-inducing sound tracks, is one of the best-known contemporary Turkish artists. His time-based works are caught in a cycle of endless transformation, their abstract details changing with an almost somnambulistic rhythm that moves between the seductive and the threatening. In this exhibition, the artist engages an unusual subject: the meaning of the word definition, which, he posits, has shifted from the rigidly codified to the fluid. Akakçe translates language into his characteristic floating shapes, complementing his video works with drawings and wall reliefs—each an attempt to condense the “constant changes” he identifies into a single object. The forms of the classical media in the exhibition range from severe to gentle, keeping the viewer at a distance. The videos, on the other hand, pull one ineluctably into their visual world. Their floating, slowly mutating shapes encourage in the viewer associative reveries, which are frequently interrupted by violent visual moments. Does this represent the static aspect of definition coming apart? If so, this change in its meaning would, unequivocally, entail a kind of liberation—and the optimism of such a promise is experienced throughout this visually and conceptually convincing exhibition.

Translated from German by Jane Brodie.