Artist of the Week: Cevdet Erek

Circular Week Ruler, 2011, laser and black paint on transparent perspex, 12 x 0,3 cm

After a short break with our series of online-studio visits entitled “Artist of the Week”, here you can read a short interview with Cevdet Erek right after his recent solo project “Week” at Kunsthalle Basel.    

Cevdet Erek’s (1974, Istanbul) work is characterised by a marked use of rhythm and site specificity. Erek combines video, sound and images, often in an attempt to alter the viewer’s perception and experience of a given space. The result functions as a hypothesis, probing the viewer’s instinctive logic and thus appealing to the senses. Interestingly, Erek manages to combine rational components such as references to architecture and linear time with instinctive impulses thereby levelling the gap between two supposedly opposing spheres.

Cevdet Erek is visual artist and musician living and working in Istanbul. Erek's installations, objects, videos and performances have been shown at 8th Istanbul Biennial, Platform Garanti, Stedelijk Museum, Tate Modern, Arter, Extra City and Artist Space among others. Erek was on residency at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in 2005 to 2006 and his installation Studio was awarded the Uriot Prize. His book SSS – The Shore Scene Soundtrack was published by BAS Artist Books - Istanbul in 2008. He holds a BA in Architecture and MA in Sound, continues a PhD at ITU MIAM – Center for Advanced Studies in Music. In 2011 Erek showed at Tate Modern London, Darat al Funun at Amman, 303 Gallery New York, Pori Art Museum -Finland, Ahmet Öğüt - Cevdet Erek, Overgaden, Kopenhagen, 12th Istanbul Biennial, Kunsthalle Basel (solo presentation).

For more info:

Future Audience Feuilleton: You showed the series "Rulers and rhythm studies" in the last Istanbul Biennial, and the work has been developed through a long process. You have some notes on your web site about them such as "These rulers are not timelines themselves" and "These rulers are timeline makers"... I am interested in how you conceptualize them as sorts of references of perception of our time. I remember Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar`s masterpiece, The Time regulation Institution and his juxtaposition of opposites; old Imperial culture with the new agenda of the young republic, class struggles and modernity... Cevdet, are you a modernist?       

Cevdet Erek: What I have been trying to do with Rulers and Rhythm Studies is based on several layers. Firstly, I am interested in creating simple interface(s), which are based on a very familiar tool- the ruler- from everyday life, which may or shall help the viewer or user or owner in visioning temporal relations. In other words; the not-very-clear kind of images or understandings that we have in our thought or inside, of some specific times, years, event, memories and their relations, orders, layerings... To repeat myself: not to show timelines, but propose an aid to construct them. In the Biennial, finally, I had a chance to show all of them (15 rulers) together (it was proposed by Adriano Pedrosa) and in dialogue with other works, and use this togetherness to propose founding relations with other types of time organizations or rhythms, like the natural or political or the musical. Back to the question about Ahmed Hamdi Tanpinar… Yes, his work and novels such as Institute of Adjustment of Clocks or Mind at Peace are very early and big inspirations for me, in a wider sense than only art making, but not in Rulers that much, though. A memory from an exhibition in the past: In "Just in Time" (2006 Stedelijk Museum CS, Amsterdam, “Just in Time”, Proposal for Municipal Art Acquisitions, curated by Maxine Kopsa), designer of the publication, Will, asked participators to submit some related work or inspirations. In my page. Ahmed Hamdi's portrait was standing next to the image of a Zumthor building and a portrait of Magda, DJ. And finally, Am I a modernist? No answer, or very probably no, because I don't have a clear definition of the `modernist` at the moment. 

Future Audience Feuilleton: Your show at Kunsthalle Basel is on view till the beginning of March 2012. And it should be a good opportunity to work with Adam, since his approach is very much related to the process of exhibitions? Can you tell us how do you feel about your "Week"?     

Cevdet Erek: I feel very good about the show. I think it's a good shift of scale and clarification of content, a step forwards (-if there is a direction).Working with Adam was efficient -interactive and constructive in different phases, and responding to your first question: We had a lots of conversations on viewing of some moderns today… 

Future Audience Feuilleton: What do you expect from 2012? What are the plans?

Cevdet Erek: I expect peace, some more sports and drumming. "Week" at Kunsthalle Basel is extended to March 18. Then a solo Künstlerhaus in Stuttgart, as part of series of solo exhibitions curated by Adnan Yildiz, I guess that would happen in the fall program; and also Asia Pacific Triennial later in the year, some talks of a possible group show at CCA Wattis, and some other which is early to mention, as they are not clear yet. And for sure keeping on with band in its unique rhythm.