Istanbul

İnci Eviner, Co-Action Device: A Study, 2013, mixed media installation with live performance by Sırma Öztaş. Galata Greek Primary School, Istanbul.

İnci Eviner, Co-Action Device: A Study, 2013, mixed media installation with live performance by Sırma Öztaş. Galata Greek Primary School, Istanbul.

İnci Eviner

Galeri Nev Istanbul

İnci Eviner, Co-Action Device: A Study, 2013, mixed media installation with live performance by Sırma Öztaş. Galata Greek Primary School, Istanbul.

Suspended existence has been a recurring theme for Turkish artist İnci Eviner, and her 2012 video Nursing Modern Fall continues to convey this condition both in content and form. This single-wall projection presents a scene that resembles both Escher’s labyrinths and Bruegel’s town scenes in a three-minute loop, a filmic assemblage combining drawing and live action in which various figures perform repetitive gestures as if in broken images from a collective memory. Eviner’s drawings of humans in odd postures and fragmentary renderings of imaginary/real spaces superimposed by video techniques are uncannily familiar and communicate a sense of displacement. The spaces seem strange and the humans uncomfortable in this fabricated world.

In previous video works such as Harem, 2009, and Parliament, 2010, Eviner employed illustrations of the Topkapi Palace Harem and the European Parliament, and with similar techniques formed a stage by populating these settings with figures engaged in seemingly normal but potentially disruptive acts to create narratives entirely different from those we might imagine appropriate for such buildings. This mismatch of components is both the content and the form Eviner uses not only to show the tension between the irrational and the desirable but also to question the position of the outsider, the misfit in these man-made schemes. Buildings of this nature are architectural manifestations of power but become stagnant in Eviner’s remakes, as they are challenged by the subversive presence of the odd characters she creates.

Such figures reappear in Nursing Modern Fall, but this time, the ground they are dangling on is also suspended; it moves. In this video—commissioned by Marseille-Provence 2013, Capitale Européenne de la Culture, for the exhibition “Ici, Ailleurs” (Here, Elsewhere) at La Friche Belle de Mai art center in Marseille—there is not one but a conglomeration of places that together form a hybrid construction site, a working space synthesized from architectural renderings of the Pratt & Whitney aircraft-engine factory in East Hartford, Connecticut (built by Albert Kahn Associates in 1941), drawings of interiors by Andrea Palladio, and Auguste Perret’s plan for Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, among others.

In Nursing Modern Fall, Eviner employs parallax to show that not only humans but their concepts, their plans to shape their own societies, are on slippery ground; all is displaced and suspended in our modernity. Eviner is trying to “nurse” this modern fall, trying to find a remedy for the fault in the great scheme of things, and she seems to suspect that panacea is in the hands of the misfits and the obsessively curious, such as her nurse figures in Modern Fall, whose gestures recall those in Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, 1632. Perhaps when their energy finds its proper outlet, our societal models will be transformed and become better able to sustain all the subjects that are not perfect but do exist.

As Eviner continues to tackle gender issues and architectonics, her works and academic teachings overlap. At last year’s Istanbul Biennial, her piece titled Co-Action Device: A Study, 2013, was formed as a working space where forty students produced collaborative works in various media addressing body politics. It is no coincidence that in June 2013, Erdem Gündüz, a trained dancer and ex-student of Eviner’s, became a protagonist of the Gezi Park resistance. As the “standing man,” he started a peaceful act of protest that was quickly adopted by thousands. It seems that odd but compelling gestures like those of Eviner’s figures can indeed become real and influential in the bigger scheme of things.

Mine Haydaroğlu