IKSV grieves Huseyin Bahri Alptekin

Huseyin Bahri Alptekin, 50, passed away in his studio on January 1, 2008, after a heart attack. Alptekin most recently had exhibited his "Don't Complain" installation at the Pavillion of Turkey of the 52nd Venice Biennial in 2007 and had taken part in many international exhibitons including the 4th and 9th International Istanbul Biennials, Manifesta V and the Sao Paulo Biennial. At IKSV, we are mourning the loss of a good friend and respected artist that we have had the honour to work with for many years and were looking forward to pursuing new projects with in the future. Huseyin Alptekin is survived by his son, Cemali Marino and his wife Camila Rocha Alptekin. Our deepest sympathies and condolences to all of the art community.

Hüseyin Alptekin calls his installation for Turkey's participation in the Biennial "Don't Complain" knowing full well that it is tautological to refute a dissatisfaction with a complaint. Such a refutation suggests a superiority because "don't complain!" as an imperative expects the "complainer" to make do with what he or she has got. We get more skeptical when we do not even know if there is a dissatisfaction in the first place or if the imperative is actually preventive measure. The title assumes physical shape as an LED light-sign appropriated from the irregular systems of advertising boards of Istanbul that are remodeled every day. Such signs operate in a specific kind of global economy where hi-tech and lo-tech, local craftsmanship and imported technological innovation effortlessly merge together. Alptekin’s has had a long-time interest as an ethical purloiner from the author-less creative sphere of the street. Likewise, his large-scale installation in the exhibition is the result of a revisitation of a "mental-setting" in Tiblisi, Georgia. The installation consists of five specific single-cell spaces with the entrances laid out in a semi-arched form. These spaces come out of a particular type of public dining where restaurants are strictly divided into separate cabins clustered around an open or closed courtyard. For the customers, this implies a specific kind of convivium without necessarily having to be connected. Hence, each guest group can "reserve" others from their catharsis and delirium. Each cabin in the installation supports films made of a succession of hundreds of single images. Some linear, others not, some with sound, others mute, the films are registers of random and nonessential moments of life, fleeting acts that normally elude our attention, and things sidelined forever from the march of history. The films, called the ”Incident-s,” arrive from many different localities such as Turkey, Kosova, India, and Brazil. These are places Alptekin has made temporary home over the recent years. Alptekin is not on a search for an Other to be mediated, but for silhouettes of what may be shared. The “The Bombay Incident” on Juhu Tara Beach and The “Rio de Janeiro Incident” on Ipanema Beach fold on to each other effortlessly without having been engineered as lifestyles or organized as monied-class aspirations. The incidents produce a collective horizon. This deeply empathic assignation to the invisible under-belly of globalization and the cosmos of authorless, displaced presences, has as well to do with Alptekin's peripatetic life, and his ”escape” from local setting. His unabated rummaging around of different places provides him a specific knowledge as well as a working model. The installation was prepared in Vaasa, Finland as part of the artist’s Platform Vaasa residency with support from “Cheap Finnish Labour” project and BRG: Barn Research Group [Johan Ångerman, Peter Båsk, Camila Rocha, Cemali Marino, Hüseyin Alptekin].

Vasýf Kortun