In Support: Support Structures, group exhibition / performance programme. 2017.


 Photo courtesy Lukas Meßner
  • Exhibition text
    In Support is an exhibition program in three parts taking place from June 10 to September 2, 2017, at De Kijkdoos (Amsterdam), a row of outdoor vitrines accessible to the public 24/7. As support, the structure is separated from desire. Roland Barthes, A Lovers Discourse: Fragments Of course there is not a happiness of structure; but every structure is habitable, indeed it may be its best definition. Roland Barthes, A Lovers Discourse: Fragments On one occasion Foucault gives it its most precise name: it is a “diagram”… It is a machine that is almost blind and mute, even though it makes others see and speak. Gilles Deleuze, Foucault The third and the final strand of In Support is titled Support Structures. The vitrine installations and other works in this section take further distance from the personal. They lean toward technically conceived works that connect back to the notion of support not just as form but more importantly as gesture. Support Structures is partly conceived as a contradiction of the first two installments – Support as Intimacy and Proximity and Violence of Support – and draws inspiration from the contradictions in Brecht’s work between the theoretical and the formal. Doubleness as a concept is central to Support Structures. The works, as well as self-standing, independent forms, entail gestures that are perhaps easily recognizable to the audience but invisible to passersby. Accompanying the visual works is a sound piece transmitted via vibration speakers. The piece comprises a lecture in Turkish from Süreyya Karacabey, who was a professor in the Theater Department of Ankara University until her expulsion by the government under new laws targeting secular academics. These laws, which have seen nearly 5000 academics lose their jobs, are a product of the “state of emergency” in Turkey that has now been renewed for a third time. Karacabey is a well-respected academic and the author of several books on Heiner Müller and Bertolt Brecht. She is currently teaching in a number of initiatives formed outside of academia as a reaction to recent political events in Turkey. These initiatives involve holding lectures on the street, accessible to all. The lecture presented during In Support was first delivered in the context of one such initiative, Sokak Akademisi (Street Academy), in Ankara last winter. The idea of inviting Karacabey as a contributor stemmed both from the relevance of her academic interests and, perhaps more importantly, from the structural resemblances between this exhibition and her street lectures. The lecture presented for Support Structures focuses on Brecht’s notion of epic theatre. His insistence that an audience should remain sober and critically engaged with a work instead of being carried away by fictional realities and illusory empathy resonates with our current political climate. Further, by contradicting the previous two performances presented in the exhibition – both of which took the form of storytelling and demanded a degree of empathic engagement from the audience – Karacabey’s lecture, delivered through a vibration speaker, highlights the intricate, often paradoxical and fragile nature of support. This also resonates with how Brecht frequently justified his art by contradicting his own theories. The sound piece is accompanied by a printed text: Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote by Jorge Luis Borges. Pierre Menard is a short story in the form of a review or literary criticism. Borges’ “review” describes Menard’s efforts to go beyond a mere “translation” of Don Quixote by immersing himself so thoroughly in the work as to be able to actually “recreate” it, word for word, in the original 17th-century Spanish. Interestingly, Borges’ review argues that the translation is more successful than the original even though the two are identical. The printed text in English proposes an allegorical double for the audience who doesn’t know Turkish and therefore has no access to Karacabey’s lecture. Olga Micinśka presents a sculptural form made from self-healing concrete, a new technology in civil engineering. She writes: “Repair is a process which requires an understanding of mechanisms and materials. It can be understood as the meta-operation in connection to the usage of tools. Essential here is the perception of what might have failed and how to control the prospective performance of the malfunctioning object.” The work reflects on what is called “Damage Management”, which refers to the manner in which things are broken and the efficient planning of their fixing procedures. The self-healing concrete, as a self-supporting non-human object with an agency, stands in an interesting relation to the theme of the exhibition. The work is situated in an unsuited environment where the healing process of the object is interrupted, forming a different timeline than it would have in a laboratory. Nicola Arthen presents a set of unready-made aluminium pieces – aeroplane food containers imprinted with texts. He also shows three cups made in collaboration with Ivo Rick. The idea of the cups is perhaps most honestly described as coming from a specific production technique, namely 3D printing, which is a prototyping technique at the intersection of the digital and the material. The cups, as a final outcome of this process, are somewhat frozen witnesses of a situation – an act of drinking, a long bar night maybe, and definitely a comment on the social get-together of exhibition openings (which is what they were initially made for) and event culture in general. They can be thought of as a kind of prototyped, to-be-serially produced, single act. A clean and plasticized still life of something that had to be touched, chewed, and swallowed. Like a scene telling a story with computer-rendered smoke. A clean, abject experience. Dan Walwin creates a form of diorama using a mirror and wind. The work connects back to Nicola Arthen's in its utilisation of the readymade but this time in a different manner, a form of moving-image making through objects. Baha Görkem Yalım presents a set of sculptures conceived from the idea of an object’s “doubleness”. Yalım frames this double through its potential as a support structure, which results as a visible form in their attitude in conceivement. Using the material possibilities of objects, Yalım attempts to preserve the affordance while eliminating the function. In Support: “Support Structures" 12 August – 2 September 2017 De Kijkdoos Weesperstraat 51, Amsterdam Open 24/7 “In Support” is realized with the support of Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst / AFK
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