Artists: Georgina Gratrix, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Zsófia Keresztes, Güçlü Öztekin, Ugo Rondinone, Fahrelnissa Zeid
Curators: Anissa Touati, Marc-Olivier Wahler
Would you still love me if I painted parrots all day? Would you still love this world if fishes were floating in your room, if your whole universe turned into a bestiary, where the human being counted as much as a fragile flower, a colored stone, a crazy horse, a vaporous landscape? Where nothing and everything shared the same place on a field that unfolds up to the horizon? No, maybe not. Unless you look at this world through the eyes of some artists: they observe their surroundings with an attention stripped of any type of hierarchy between things. They manage to extract distinct languages from these flat horizons, they transform everything into singular objects, strange, unique, rebellious and elusive. These worlds are made in artists’ studios, where all the possibilities of representing our world are imaginable. You can paint anything, absolutely anything. But then, why paint parrots again and again? Day after day? Could it be that the artist knows his gaze is not unidirectional, it turns, goes away, comes back and above all, ventures both outside and inside his body. Painting all the flowers, molding all the fishes, twisting any material to bring it inside our world, these are the challenges that the artists set themselves in their studios in order to help us navigate in our everyday world.
Annisa Touati, Marc-Olivier Wahler
Dirimart is pleased to present the colorful group exhibition titled Would you still love me if I painted parrots all day? curated by Anissa Touati and Marc-Olivier Wahler. The exhibition brings together works of Georgina Gratrix, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Zsófia Keresztes, Güçlü Öztekin, Ugo Rondinone, and Fahrelnissa Zeid around the notion of the transformative power of art.
Georgina Gratrix’s (b. 1982, Mexico City) mocking, distinctive and outstanding works explore the notions of celebrity, personality and pop-culture in relation to the history of painting. The layers of her impasto paintings are filled with repeated motifs and symbols forming charming ugliness in a playful, humoristic and colorful way. Her twenty small paintings taken to the current exhibition offer an inverted visual take on the world, instilled with her own youthful energy and personal experience. She was recently awarded the Discovery Prize at the 50th Anniversary edition of Art Brussels. Her recent solo exhibitions include The Reunion, Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2021); The Pleasure is Mine, Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles (2020) and On Repeat, SMAC Gallery, Johannesburg (2017). Her select group exhibitions include Recent Acquisitions by the Homestead Collection, Norval Foundation, Cape Town (2020); Hollywood Babylon: A Re-inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Jeffrey Deitch, Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles (2020) and Everybody loves the sunshine, Plus One Gallery, Antwerp (2018). She lives and works in Cape Town.
Özlem Günyol (b. 1977, Ankara) and Mustafa Kunt (b. 1978, Ankara) investigate representations of individual and collective senses of belonging, meaning of language, symbols, and information, as well as their link to culturally coded patterns of understanding. The rope converted from a 22 meter-long banner with its colorful spray-painted slogan “And Justice for All!” was produced the year Prime Minister Erdoğan enforced a law reform which effectively strengthened the power of the executive and legislative over the judiciary. The work, in all its ambivalence, makes this transformation tangible: while the banner had a clear purpose of protest, the rope can be used to tie something to secure or take its freedom. The duo’s selected solo exhibitions include Dortmunder Kunstverein (2014); Ses-li Harfler | Ses-siz Harfler, Dirimart, Istanbul (2019) and The Image Without The Image, Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft, Berlin (2019). Their selected group exhibitions include Hector Kunstpreis, Kunsthalle Mannheim (2009); 12th International Istanbul Biennial (2011); As Rights Go By – On the Erosion and Denial of Rights, freiraum Q21, Museums Quartier, Vienna (2016); How Will the Weather be Tomorrow?, curated by Özlem Günyol-Mustafa Kunt, Between Bridges, Berlin (2018); This Place, YKY Kültür Sanat, Istanbul (2021) and WALK!, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2022). The artists live and work in Frankfurt.
Inspired by Proust’s approach to virtuality, to memory as “real but not actual, ideal but not abstract,” the practice of Zsófia Keresztes (b. 1985, Budapest) contemplates on the possibilities of virtual extensions of things in a physical environment. By establishing game theories and what-if scenarios, her sculptures manifest as a reminder that how technology and digital existence eat us up inside as violating our perceptions of reality. In her sculptures The Last Bite, Not Yet Titled and Limits of Capacity, the self-damning act of searching security reminds us Schopenhauer’s “porcupine dilemma”; which he uses it to describe the problematics of mutual intimacy. Even if there is no intention of damage, it is impossible to avoid mutual or self-harm as establishing a close relationship. The artist represented the Hungarian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022). Her sculptures and installations have recently been shown, amongst others, at the 15th Lyon Biennale (2019); 100 Artists in the City, Montpellier Contemporain; Liquid Bodies, Philara Collection, Düsseldorf and Brno Art Open (2019). She lives and works in Budapest.
Using various, easily attainable paper and upcycled material in his works, Güçlü Öztekin (b. 1978, Eskişehir) generally creates at the intersection of the daily life and the fantastic world of kaplankadilak, his alter-ego. His works exhibited in the current show defy hierarchy among things, providing a fresh perspective to the viewer. His selected solo exhibitions are
Tupsy Turvy! Selpakla Gorili Bitirdim!, Dirimart, Istanbul (2017); Şe Şe Pa Pa… Sometimes You Need to Cry to Fish, Rampa, Istanbul (2015) and Everything’s Tickling Each Other, Krinzinger Projekte, Vienna (2012). His group exhibitions include Sky is attached / Say sound, we meet, with Sinan Logie, Barın Han, Istanbul (2021); WORLBMON, with Güneş Terkol, 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019); Memory and Continuity: A Selection from the Huma Kabakcı Collection, Pera Museum, Istanbul (2016) and Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2008). Öztekin is a member of the artist groups HA ZA VU ZU and GuGuOu. Together with them, he took part in various group exhibitions, during which they enacted performances and showed their works: 10th Lyon Biennial (2009); Mercy, Liverpool (2008) and 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007). He lives and works in Istanbul.
The notion of time is fundamental in the oevre of Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964, Brunnen), which is reflected in his concept, process, and materials. His landscapes, suns, human figures, and still lifes probe the emotional and psychological depths of human experience in relation to nature. In the exhibition the artist creates a new universe with forty-seven sculptures: each form is named after a natural phenomenon and embodied by a bronze fish suspended on wire. These sculptures follow in a series that includes bronze-cast birds (primitive, 2011) and horses (primal, 2013). These three group of animals belonging to air, land, and water, stand in for the world beyond the exhibition space and point to the transience and temporality of the natural world. The artist has represented Switzerland at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007). He held solo exhibitions at several museums around the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney, Belvedere 21 Vienna, Bass Museum of Art Miami and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León. He lives and works in New York.
Fahrelnissa Zeid (b. 1901, İstanbul, d. 1991, Amman) fused modern European approaches to abstract art with Byzantine and Islamic influences to create a unique visual vocabulary in her vibrant abstract paintings. Trained in Istanbul and Paris, she was one of the first female students to study fine arts in Turkey. She became a key figure in Turkish modernism in the early 1940’s and the École de Paris in the 1950’s. In her London and Paris years, she absorbed the influences of both European abstraction and non-European art. She describes her move toward the abstract as follows: “I did not ‘intend’ to become an abstract painter; I was a person working very conventionally with forms and values. But flying by plane transformed me… The world is upside down. A whole city could be held in your hand: the world seen from above.” Her abstract exhibited in the show reflects this moment in her art when she turned her gaze to the field that unfolds up to the horizon, that field we call our earth. Through her long career, Zeid explored different styles and experimented with a range of techniques and materials. In 2017, Tate Modern held a major retrospective, calling her “one of the greatest female artists of the 20th century.”