Ses-li Harfler I Ses-siz Harfler
20 February 2019–30 March 2019 | Dirimart

Özlem Günyol-Mustafa Kunt

Dirimart opens its doors to the second solo exhibition of the Frankfurt-based artist duo Özlem Günyol-Mustafa Kunt at the gallery. The exhibition gathers new works for this show as well as their recent Materialistic Paintings series.

Material of Günyol and Kunt’s work comprises geographical and architectural measurements, political symbols, language, residue, and found objects. They are in pursuit of an aesthetic with which they dissemble things, isolate them from their physicality and context, and reorder with an assiduous precision and labor. Those transferals and transformations do not only take place in the material but also in their meanings, sometimes very radically. Concepts such as Europe, capital, migration, constitution, equity, belonging/exclusion are transformed and rendered sensible in a different aesthetic experience.

Ses-li Harfler | Ses-siz Harfler focuses on various sub-themes bifurcating under the concepts of vocality and silence; the title of the exhibition refers to vowels and consonants, which, in Turkish, are grouped as letters producing sound or not respectively. The work titled Prohibited Letters departs from slogans prohibited from the street by the Istanbul Governorate during the May Day demonstrations of 2018. In this video, we watch endless meanderings of letter groups in the void that are banned from gathering in a certain organized way. The video keeps the potential of the letters to suddenly come together to form words, and words to form sentences. The work titled There Are Things You Don’t Know That We Know detaches letters from daily newspaper names, keeping their styles to use them as material for newly constructed sentence. The visual language of this sentence recalls a construct familiar from crime movies where the character, trying to avoid leaving a trace, uses letters he/she cuts from magazines, newspapers, instead of using his/her handwriting. In the new series, Untitled, inaugurating with this show, each painting contains the pleading of one of the journalists who are under arrest or investigated due to their articles. M is a book designed in small dictionary format, a 365-pages diary of 2018 whose pages are filled with words taken from a pool of words obtained from each days’s headlines and front page news of national newspapers with large circulation. M also refers to “medya” [media], “manşet” [headline], and “manipülasyon” [manipulation] in Turkish. Another work on view, Deadlock that rings in our ears the answer of Donald Rumsfeld to a question regarding the alleged weapons in Iraq in 2002, uses the central column of the gallery and the words KNOWN and UNKNOWN turning around it. Using the four-edged structure of the column, the words keep turning around the corners in an endless cycle/chase. The bipolar nature of the cycle opens the work to various combinations of reading. The work titled Mr. Bertelli, you are right. The profile still continues is a reconsideration of Renato Bertelli’s Continuous Profile (1933), a bust of Mussolini constructed by circumvolving his profile 360° thus describing him as a godly eye that can look and see all directions, can control everything around. When it was presented to Il Duce, it was highly acclaimed so that the fascist leader declared it as his official bust and ordered its mass production. So in this new form given by Günyol and Kunt, with this new interpretation, what this bust tells us today?

In the viewing room of the gallery, Materialistic Paintings series that comprises paintings representing coins from various currencies is on view. Each painting consists of multiple squares of metallic powder where the size of each square represents the amount of the respective metal (iron, steel, copper, nickel, aluminum, zinc, tin etc.) used in fabrication of the coin. An aesthetic experience emerges at the intersection of the subject matter of these paintings, the materiality of them and the way this materiality is conveyed; as well as of abstract, avant-garde or structuralist art currents and economic, power relations.

An artist book prepared together with the exhibition is also on the way. Looking at their fifteen-years path, to make interpretations from various perspectives and to scrutinize the projections of the artists’ search to our day, the book is the most comprehensive book on Günyol and Kunt.