Last 2 Exhibitions in Torun: Lendemain Demain & Flashers On

Alper Yıldırım
Mert Acar

Torun, one of Ankara's art initiatives we follow with pleasure, ended its mission as a host for artists who want to make independent exhibitions in November 2016. By achieving to establish a much-needed "space for sharing" and gathering artists, exhibitions, viewers, in other words people who have similar dreams together for a long period, Torun will continue its activities through different media and practices that they feel the lack of.

You can find more about Torun from the article published in Sanat Dünyamız.

We would like to talk about the last 2 exhibitions that took place in Torun, which we think as converging in some ways, and therefore indicating the similarity of the current issues we have in mind. The last exhibition was "Flashers On" by Mert Acar, and the previous one was "Lendemain Demain" by Alper Yıldırım.


Lendemain Demain is a piece inspired by Borges' short story "The Immortal."

The story tells about a Roman warrior's, Marcus Flaminius Rufus' search for the City of Immortals, and the river that bestows immortality on whoever drinks from it. Marcus finds himself captured by Troglodytes and while trying to escape the city senselessly comes across a river. When he is quenching his thirst, he sees the City of Immortals. The city consists of labyrinths, dead-end passages and chaotic structures. After strolling inside the labyrinths, Marcus Flaminius Rufus realizes that the city has been abandoned by its inhabitants hundreds of years ago, and he escapes the city. He learns that the Troglodytes are actually immortals, and ages after they destroyed the original City of Immortals they built the labyrinths. And the waters he drank before entering the city is actually the river that bestows immortality; now he is also immortal.

Eternity for the immortals annihilates the importance of time, space and motion. Is it also true for photographs? Rather than controlling the notion of eternity in photographs and drawing the line, in other words, rather than settling on some narrative for the exhibition, Yıldırım opts for obscurity. And he leaves the arrangement of a hundred photographs to viewers. Similar to the story itself, he wants the viewers to construct the exhibition space with the materials at hand (We also did our own version of the photographs available on the website). The work also has a musical aspect. On the opening day of the exhibition, Yıldırım and his 2 friends played acoustic/ambient music after the viewers installed the photographs.

Lendemain Demain deforms the way of approaching the individual photographs by freeing the work rather than limiting as expected from an exhibition. It channels its viewers (in other words, the visitors of the city) to see and apprehend the exhibition space as a whole.




While abandoned places and objects in nature appear as melancholic images in "Lendemain Demain" Mert Acar in "Flashers On" tries to explore and grasp the new landscapes constructed by objects that don't belong to nature.

In the photographs, billboards, gas stations, high-tension lines and buildings appear in rural areas, and make up today's idiosyncratic aesthetic. Acar tells about his work: "I can say that I have explored a different kind of chaos in rural areas, different from the chaos of the city that is bearing down on me. On the one hand, there is this feeling of freedom you get from nature, on the other, roads that cut the landscape like knives, and around them human constructs that serve the city again. To me, what is most striking thing about these constructs located in rural areas is that they are devoid of identity. I can say that I find the sloppy layout of the forms designed almost completely for functional purposes more sincere than the urban settlement."

Although the project has begun in Ankara and its peripheries, photographs don't refer to any spatial identity. On the contrary, just like rural areas, these derelict structures are without identity. The disorderly installation of the pieces in the exhibition space identify with rural areas and Acar's own exploration. In order to really explore the photographs that are in printed different sizes and placed in varying heights, you may have to get back or closer, even climb a ladder.

Especially industrial structures and places become a significant theme in the works of artists as ambiguous superheros, be it good or bad. And Acar's search in the rural, in other words extremely insecure and vast spaces can be regarded as an exploration process characterized by uneasiness and uncanniness.

On the one hand, the objects that seem aesthetic, and appear in nature with all their artificiality on the other, are sure to reveal the industrial aspect of the era in Anatolia, just like Becher's water towers.




In both of the projects, nature as a harbourer of significant symbols appears to interact mostly with sentiments in "Lendemain Demain", whereas it appears to interact mostly with apprehension in "Flashers On".