Ahmet Öğüt. POST NO BILLS, 2011, text-stencil spray-painted on Felix Gonzalez-Torres's poster "Untitled (The End)", 1990
Ahmet Öğüt’s recent piece, “POST NO BILLS, 2011, text-stencil spray-painted on Felix Gonzalez-Torres' poster "Untitled (The End)", 1990” was born on a metro trip from Downtown to Brooklyn. This is what he said when he was giving me the piece for the 1st Solidarity Auction at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart, where I work as the artistic director since January 2011.
You can see the same text; “POST NO BILLS” as street tags almost everywhere in New York City, and a friend of mine commented on a picture of them (-that I posted on Facebook) as “that's what they call freedom of speech overseas...” Shortly, it means that advertising is not allowed, and as you know, advertising is a sort of “billing” something. In that context, the term “bill” (or “handbill”) also means poster. So, it is mostly used for saying that you should not stick a poster that is advertising or selling something.
I think it is fun to talk about this piece in my first blog post here.
Well, this is not the first time that Ahmet is referring to FGT (Felix Gonzales Torres). Most of the visitors of the last (12th) Istanbul Biennial would remember the coins in a box next to each other. There were 2 Euro and 2 Turkish Lira - entitled as “Perfect Lovers”, which is also an `Untitled` title of another FGT piece. For me, “POST NO BILLS” has more direct reference to the notion of materiality that FGT` work can be specifically related to, and it also feels like another layer comes out -when you read that sentence as a tag on a poster, which is distributed for free in an exhibition situation.
Ahmet`s double-layered reference recalls actions from Group Material, especially the poster campaign “Democracy” in terms of how streets are occupied today in an environment of intense police control and regulation. The piece invites us to compare the current situation, especially in New York with the reactions happened against 80’s right wing politics. During the days that Ahmet was dealing with this idea, the New York Police department cleaned up the occupiers from the Wall Street.
In a nutshell, Ahmet said that he picked the give-away FGT poster piece “The End” - that he used for his work - from the show “September 11” at PS1. He produced two editions, one for the auction list at the Künstlerhaus to support the event, and one for himself as the artist copy. Definitely, the pieces will not bring him any money. If there would be an interest for the piece in the auction, the income will support our next exhibitions.
P..S. What is the 1. Solidarity Auction?
It is a benefit event, which will take place tomorrow, on Saturday December 10th, 2011 Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. Aiming to operate with the recent cuts in the budget during the last two years and to provide funding for future projects, the auction brings together a selected list of artists who generously donated their works. In a way, it defines a community, in terms of who supports an art institution, which was also founded by Stuttgart based artists during late 70`s. For more information, and to catch the last 24 hour of online bidding please visit www.kuenstlerhaus.de