16 Eylül 2009 Çarşamba

I Love You!

Departing from ‘a search for roots in present-day conditions and etymology’, Tayfun Serttaş’s installation titled ‘I Love You!’ creates a comparative language between two different personal experiences. The relationship the artist establishes via two ‘identical’ tomb images pertaining to his history of production questions with a pointed and acute discourse the context of radicalization borne out of continuing debates on identity in Turkey.

The tomb-sculpture titled ‘For Sabiha Gökçen’ designed by the artist in 2007 features the engraved inscription in Armenian, Kezi Gı Sirem (I Love You). Hrant Dink’s article titled ‘The Secret of Sabiha Hatun’ dated February 2004 became the first link in a chain of events that led to one of the most appalling assassinations of recent history. A disturbing provocative effect was created by a report on Gökçen’s family history, initially expected to be seen in no further light than simple news value.

The sculpture ‘I Love You’ was based on a note the artist took about the depressive mood he suffered following the assassination of Hrant Dink on January 19. Sabiha Gökçen once said the words Kezi Gı Sirem (I Love You) in Armenian to her friend Pars Tuğlacı to crown the love she felt for him, and this incident serves as a belated reply of conscience from the lips of Gökçen to the ongoing collective schizophrenia of origins.

The documentary work titled ‘My Grandfather’s Garden,’ is a drawing made by the artist when he was 12, and is positioned at a distance to the sculpture. The experience of witnessing the Armenian tombstones preserved in his grandfather’s derelict home in Anatolia which the artist only visited three times in his life operates as a personal connection to the date 19 January 2007. The tombstone belongs to ‘Hacı Ğazar Mıkhalyan’ as it is clearly legible from the upper part of the drawing, but the rest of the stone is mostly illegible. The words that can be discerned include Toğuts (he left), Zgin (to his wife), Sepagan (estate), Nnçe (lies/sleeps) and Dan (his house). The marble block dated 1887 continues to be ‘preserved’ in the artist’s grandfather’s derelict home along with other similar remains.

The connection established between two works from different periods, ‘For Sabiha Gökçen,’ and ‘My Grandfather’s Garden’ brought together under the title ‘I Love You!’ departs from the political conjuncture of the present day to focus on the continuity of the past.

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