Yesim Akdeniz: Club Dystopia


Club Dystopia is a fictitious club populated by re-creations of now demolished buildings typical of the early Republic of Turkey, building's whose architecture reflected the idealism of the newly founded nation state. Club Dystopia is Akdeniz's second exhibition with Pi Artworks. She had previously exhibited with foundations such as MAK Museum (Vienna, 2013), Guggenheim Gallery (Los Angeles, 2013) and Stedeljik Museum (Amsterdam, 2004).

Images of deformed, often unpopulated buildings isolated from their original contexts, are central elements within Akdeniz's recent paintings. Those within her Club Dystopia are public buildings built with the aim of modernizing 1930's society in Turkey, and helping it adopt to a new lifestyle defined as 'ideal'. Within the club we encounter Taksim Municipality Music Hall, Çubuk Dam Music Hall, Ankara Exhibition House, and the factory buildings that used to populate various parts of Istanbul. Those buildings, now demolished or converted to different purposes, reflect the influence of Soviet architecture both in their aesthetic and their symbolic attempt at 'social engineering'. As the silent representatives of an in-between interpretation of modernism, these have been the victims of the constant desire for erasing the past and imposing the new, similar to the mentality that led to their construction.

In these paintings, we can see the desire to affect human-life and pass on ideology through architectural objects. In the recent series, the artist associates this idea with the early Republican architecture, in the basics she inspires from theories about the Object Oriented Ontology* (OOO) doctrine (especially Timothy Morton's texts) and new ecological era called Anthropocene**, which means the new era world entered with the human effect. Based on these ideas, Akdeniz points out to the effects of nature -that is reshaped by the human factor- on transforming the world and also manipulating the memory. On the other hand, all of these elements, buildings and objects that came together in her interior and outdoor depictions, create an aura. In the artist's compositions, they escape from the human control and start their own life cycle and dialogs. They bring the irrational approach of the existences and unusual connections and waves between the objects in the world into view that.

In the work titled Last Dance in Taksim, there's a dancing woman. And she is the only human figure that can be seen in the series. This work recalls Taksim Municipality Casino, which does not exist anymore. At the same time it brings up the district's chaotic situation because of the acts of violence nowadays.

* Object Oriented Ontology: The doctrine defends that human should not be considered to have a privileged position among the non-human objects.
** Anthropocene: The new era that the world is believed to have entered because of the changing geological structure and ecology with the global effects of human activities.

Yeşim Akdeniz, b. 1978. Major exhibitions include The Secret Life Of My Coffee Table (solo), Pi Artworks London, UK (2015); Those Opposing and Those Sympathizing (solo), Dirimart, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); Le Peintre de la Modern, Galerie Jochen Hempel, Leipzig, Germany (2013); Wir Drei, Guggenheim Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2013); Signs Taken in Wonder, Museum für Angewandtekunst, Vienna, Austria (2013); A Dream Within a Dream (solo), PAK Kunstverein, Hamburg, Germany (2011); and Confessions of Dangerous Minds, Saatchi Gallery, London, UK (2011). Major collections holding her work include Deutsche Bank Collection, Germany; De Nederlandsche Bank Collection, Germany; Fries Museum, The Netherlands; and De Ateliers, The Netherlands.

Installation Views