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Design, Art and Idea

Serkan Demir Interview

Vol. 7

On Serkan Demir’s exhibit titled Tezahür “emergence” held at Cer Modern-Hub between 13 March and 12 April 2014.

Can you mention a little about yourself and art? I graduated in 1999 from Arts Teaching Dept. of Gazi University. Master’s Degree and Art’s Qualification period was at the Sculpting Division of Hacettepe University. One could say that I am the curious type. I’ve always been interested in form, space and design. Possibility of something connecting to another thing holds an important place in my process. It means the opportunity to be attached and being tied to something else. My recent period works have developed in this context. In Ankara, you held an exhibit titled “tezahür” at the Cer Modern art center in March. The exhibition title is of Arabic origin, can you describe why this choice? Its dictionary meanings may be vision, indication, emergence but it is derived from “zuhur” meaning divine manifestation. It is what one might call “metavision”, a sudden manifestation. This word relates to my work and production process. When my recent projects are examined in terms of regional strategies, geographies of Middle East the concept of faith and parallel politics emerge as a whole. Thus it was easy to relate the word ‘emergence’ with my exhibited work which is based on references to religion and faith. The sense of emergence as implied by the word “tezahür” could be presented. The moment of confrontation with a work possesses the power of creating unexpected visions and meanings as in manifestation. U. Eco’s open work concept summarizes this very well. We see in your work the use of ready objects, waste objects or recyclable objects. This exhibit also contains Ready-Made items. How does objects focused process contribute to expression opportunities? Objects already replaced in art the words, sentences and even paragraphs. It already became an abbreviation. We know that reading of art depends on recalling and sensing. An important formula leading to open reading, one of the recording devices are the objects. Its utility, application area, its cultural source, main material, ingredients and many other indicators allow their wide use in art. It has begun with depictions on cave wall, integrated to human body and as a tool of expression it is very practical. No justification is needed to use such an opportunity in formation of a passage. In terms of waste objects, yes, sometimes I have justifiable preferences for certain objects. An art work needs to be wholistic in its meaning and expression. Object resolves the work. It is a summation. I prefer the objects which best relate to my themes but my process is not focused on the object. Just as the language of poetry differs in written or oral form, utility of objects and the reasons for their use differs. I think a poet chooses the words with the same sensitivity as an artist choosing objects. Meaning is the most important point of my process. At that point I use whichever object has the potential to reflect it best. It becomes an attribute, a word. In short, the use of objects in art resembles wordsmithing in literature. In your previous works we saw motion, kinetic statues and mechanical forms from the sculpting heritage, and yet in the “Emergence” exhibit we see traditional motives as well as waste materials. An interesting scenario confronts us. Can you describe this variety? It has a simple explanation. Knowledge of materials and the desire felt for the moment of confrontation. If you are involved with art you will have a different perspective on materials. I am inflicted with the disease of using too many materials. Sometimes I feel absolutely compelled to use some materials I’ve encountered. So long as the meaning remains wholesome the variety of materials is not important. Because the role of material is defined by your expectations. My meeting moments with materials have always been unique. In particular, if it has a mechanic form it will draw me directly. But, motion and mechanics are my preferences only when they contribute to the theory and meaning. Technical difference or originality of an object is not very important. What is important is the correct identification of object which will best represent the theme. Therefore, the activity of object collection and selection is more important than rendering. Such that when you elect an object it is as strategic as selecting a sentence.
When today’s general art scene is questioned, we frequently encounter its accounting or relationship with the politics. How do you classify your work in this regard? How do you relate or structure its language in terms of realities? S.D: I believe art must relate to the individual and the society. It could be any path but in the final analysis it should reach the individual. Classification could be invalid or artificial because the concept at hand is abstract. Positioning a thought process in a certain way or attempting to identify its place is generally not a valid method. But if you are in contemporary art your work needs to record in some way, your atelier must be like a recording studio and your exhibit ground needs to be a witness. As artists we witness the period. We adopt the function of memory. None of my works are analyses, foresight or prediction but they can be interpreted as small scale social sketches. We see that in these sketches you frequently deal with traditional structures, beliefs and terminology. How the political structure in Turkey, images do formed in this environment, information and documents meet with your expression opportunities? We can say that the panorama of my work consists of two main structures. Firstly the connection of faith concept with the political structure, the relationship of this connection with the social reality and the poetic production area on that axis. Secondly, the general perception form of resulting image. This production area contains a political and opposing depth. We can call that a critique. This critique based on the structural integrity of social practices can be easily seen in my work. For me, the process is a “visual interrogation” or “analysis texts”. Mostly, I react to the experiential realities of our region. We all carve the photograph of these realities in our memories. As artists we are witnesses. We compare and attempt a map on the basis of observations. Hence, all images and scenarios include all of us. This is a ship en route! You are one of the founders of Outcry (Yaygara) Art Agenda Initiative and conduct projects. We know you achieved difficult projects. You have your personal process and the parallel initiative process. Do you have difficulties in harmonizing them both? How do you formulate it? On occasion we encounter difficulties but we find expansion of Yaygara network more important. Before we defined ourselves as the initiative, we have also acted in that spirit. In action partnerships on many tracks we had the initiative role. In other words we had responsibilities. After Yaygara became an entity the situation did not change. For this reason I can’t really say we are able to distinguish the individual production process concept. Both are intertwined. Two different individual processes as conjoined twins. This is how Yaygara proceeds, and in fact most of the time, Yaygara becomes the individual process.
Vol. 7
The Outstandings On The Virtual Agence Le Journal