OCTOBER 2021 - MAY 2022

Berat Işık

Berat Isk Portre

Born in 1976 in Diyarbakır, the artist studied Painting at Dicle University. Işık has mostly used video in his works since the late 1990s. He was introduced to conceptual art before his university education, and it has become the main theme of his productions. The video productions of the artist, who adopts a critical and ironic language on migration, culture, social problems and social identities, have a utopian vision and a performative quality. In his videos where black humour is the main ground, Işık questions the impact of popular culture on collective memory. While taking a critical look at contemporary society and underlines the delicate situation experienced by minorities in Turkey, he considers the sensitivity of the subjects that he deals with with great care and attention. In addition to his videos, the forms he produces in various media are viewed as the expression of the social memory layers intertwined with the artist's individual identity and personal memory. He lives and works in Diyarbakır.

Dancer in the Dark: Appearance

The first of two projects conceived at SAHA Studio is derived from the video work Dancer in the Dark, produced in 2003 as an outcry on behalf of all others, in reference to the human rights violations that took place in Turkey in the nineties, especially in Southeast Anatolia, which were not covered in the press or other media outlets despite being resurfaced, or the news content of which was heavily distorted.

Taped in front of a camera that strictly recorded sound with its lens covered, this early video consists of a voice announcing to the audience in his native Kurdish language that he stands right in front of them in an increasingly tense tone, which represents the other, the minority, the ostracized and the invisible. The camera was thus functioning akin to a tool that allows seeing rays such as infrared, gamma rays that the naked human eye cannot normally perceive. The new project, which tries to "bend" this two-minute moving image, consisting of a total of 3000 frames and 13 subtitles that transmute the sound to image, is called Dance in the Dark: Appearance, as it has started to take on another form in recent years.

Starting with “Hey! Do not you see me?" and ending with “I am here!” these 13 frames turn into 30-centimeter basalt cubes engraved with these subtitles. Inspired by the civilizations established in and around of Diyarbakır for centuries and the nations living on these lands, the edifices like Sur (city walls) they had built with basalt stone obtained from the lava that cooled after the last eruption of Karacadağ two million years ago, and ultimately, the transformation of this burning material into massive rocks, the work has the intention of muffling, transforming, and sculpting the video.

Butterfly Effect: Star

Produced for the exhibition “Envy Enmity Embarrassment” (2013) with the support of Arter, Butterfly Effect is the other work that has provided the ground for thinking over the various states of video and was eventually transformed with the intention of “bending.” 

The derivational work was conceived in response to the fact that people who take on performative roles in contemporary art videos, appear to be a means of expression of the artist and become mainly anonymous, unlike actors in movies. The drawings of the people of various age groups and genders from The Butterfly Effect by the artist Alican Leblebici, who was invited to collaborate with the artist on this project, are superposed on the cover of cinema magazines that came out on the year these people were born in, trying to elevate these people to the status of movie stars. As an endeavor to prevent the anonymization of the figures in the video and the disappearance of the magazines, which take a lot of effort to prepare and publish, the work titled The Butterfly Effect: Star tries to create a kind of refraction of time by combining the birth of the magazine and the actor, a brand-new birth, and a single body.

This work, in which the cinematographic reference spreads from the magazine's content to the titles of the videos, the figures' actions of holding their breath and puffing their cheeks, letting their breaths go with all their strength at the point where they are exhausted is featured as the cover stories of the magazines. Their breath, which is decisive in their life and death, and the "butterfly effect" created by these encounters open new channels of thought on human strength, weakness, and existence.

Dancer in the Dark: Appearance and Butterfly Effect: Star are produced with the support of SAHA Association, within the scope of SAHA Studio program. 


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