Constructed Illusion

Cihad Caner
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"Constructed Illusion" is Cihad Caner's project in which he emphasizes the homogenization by state through a reinterpretation of archival materials.

In his project, Caner uses objects that were precious for some people once upon a time, but came to be detached from their owners after being archived, lost and became a found material in other people's hands. The anonymity of the objects ensure the objective view he wants to attain, on the other hand the information that similar images can exist in other archives, gives the work a more salient character.

Caner tells in his project text: "The process that began with the foundation of the republic, a certain lifestyle was imposed. It was adopted as a way by the state and some radical reforms was made, like the Alphabet Reform, Reform of Hat and Dress and the establishment of the nation state. With these reforms, a modernized society was targeted and constructed. This state of construction and the imposing regime never allowed for what is different to come forth. Because difference was unfavorable. In schools, before the lessons began enemies of Turkey were taught to the students. All Turkey's 9 neighboring geographies were her enemies. The races, ideas should be one, the color of the state was gray, and the other colors were not allowed. This state of construction led to lots of problems in time; the constructed elections, constructed coups were all made against groups that were trying to exhibit their differences. Through coups the society was being reset."

An unusual element we know to be alien entering to a picture we are accustomed to, evokes insecurity and discontent. An armchair we come across the street doesn't belong there, that encounter is extremely uncanny. We start thinking about it relevantly/irrelevantly. Conversely, we don't find it odd to see the same chair in a living room. In Cihad Caner's work, there is an intervention to this notion of familiarity. It is suspended, transformed. There is a perfect and deliberate distortion. As the face of a soldier fills with a completely different emotion, the people are emptied out, as for children, it is worse, they become gray. Therefore, what Caner states, transforms into representations of people who are constructed (or who are tried to be constructed). Besides, the work becomes more uncanny because of all those familiar feelings.

Cihad Caner uses photography as a tool in his works. He also thinks in spatial terms in his artistic production as well. For us, who regard photography as a narrative tool, his stance in the exhibition space is crucial for enriching the narrative. "Constructed Illusion" forces its viewers to enter into the room ducking their heads by installing the work in a room and keeping the entrance lower than its normal size. Therefore, it aims at its viewers to experience the authority it criticizes before they see the work. With this kind of presentation, it is obvious that the experience it gives to the viewers would enhance. We hope that you see the exhibition of "Constructed Illustration" in that manner.