ELM Foundation welcomes Baris Gokturk as our current guest artist. Using the inspiration of the Boiler, Baris is producing large scale work for a public exhibition that responds to the monumentality of the space and the fragility of the times we live in.
Gokturk’s work deals with the double-edged potential of collective action in public space of protest that brings individual bodies together against the larger body-politic of state and its institutions. In Gokturk’s work, this power dynamic is explored in a research-based practice of collecting texts, images and anecdotes that are then projected onto the pictorial realm, in form of layered surfaces of image-transfer, paint and relief sculpture.
For his project at the Boiler, Gokturk looks into public dancing as a space of joy, revolt, and acknowledgement of life and death. Dancing in the time of pandemic can be traced back to the Middle Ages. For instance, death dance pictures created during the bubonic plague in Europe feature people from different status and social class dancing hand in hand with skeletons, acknowledging the proximity of life and death. A little later, Brueghel’s depiction of town dances establishes a similar connection between euphoria and madness at times of crisis. The block party, a particularly dear phenomenon in New York can be understood as the modern version with its history of bringing a whole neighborhood together on the street.
Affected by the ongoing pandemic and inspired by the collective longing for bodily expressions, Gokturk strives to create a connection between his ongoing Riot_Fire series that focuses on the potential of street ﬁres started during uprisings around the world and his exploration of dance in his new large scale work for The Boiler@ELM Foundation.
We would like to thank our institutional partner in their supporting Turkish artists in the contemporary art world