Erdem Taşdelen


The Semi-Aware Subject

Solo exhibition at Galeri NON, Istanbul, 2013

The title of this exhibition is borrowed from a 1981 portraiture guide book titled How to Photograph People, which distinguishes between three types of photographic portraits based on the awareness of the subject being photographed: candid, planned and semi-aware. While the works in the exhibition have no specific reference to photography as a medium, they situate the figure of the emerging artist as a semi-aware subject and perform this subject position with sarcasm and self-mockery, ultimately presenting a dubious self-portrait of the artist.

Relevant links:
Artforum Critics' Picks - review by Kate Sutton
m-est - interview by Mehtap Öztürk

Installation views: The Semi-Aware Subject, Galeri NON, Istanbul, 2013. Photos by Serkan Tunç.

Don't Say I Didn't Say So
Installation with live rainbow parrot, steel cage and wall paint
Dimensions variable

In this installation, a live parrot inhabits the gallery space for the duration of the exhibition. The walls of the room are painted in the colours of the parrot in diagonal strips, resulting in a symbolic camouflage and creating a space for self-reflection for the parrot. The piece is a reworking of a 1974 installation by Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers with the same title, which he made for a retrospective exhibition of his works. In the original version, Broodthaers used an African grey parrot that could supposedly talk, but the rainbow lorikeet in this version cannot. While Broodthaers’ work could be seen as referencing the role of artists in society and the repetition involved in an artist’s career, the reworking of it today may suggest that contemporary art takes the forms of appropriation and repetition of learned behaviour.

Mixed Feelings
Single channel video
4' 58"

In this video animation, a line drawing portrait of a man cycles through many facial expressions, conveying a sense of undecidedness and inner turmoil. By depicting the same person in various emotional states, the animation evokes the notion of instability and creates an ambiguity regarding the position that the artist takes.

5 carpeted door mats
Various dimensions

Enchantments is a series of door mats incorporating mantras taken from fortune telling books, humourously attempting to bring artistic success into being through the superstitious gesture of claiming a gallery space and transforming its energy. This desperate measure implies past failures and an underlying uncertainty about the future, but ironically, it could indeed bring good fortune if the work is received well.

Mass Panic
15 collages with colour paper, drawing paper and acrylic
20" x 25" (50 x 65 cm) each

Mass Panic is a series of figurative and text-based hand-cut collages revolving around themes of childhood, anxiety and queerness. These colourful scenes mock the cultural anxiety that surrounds the figure of the queer child, acting loosely as snapshots of memories of childhood recalled in adult life.