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In a practice spanning some 20 years, İnci Eviner has explored the perspective of women, processes of organisation and the formation of subjectivities. Her works imagine alternate forms of expression and existence that interrogate normative representation. In the Sharjah Biennial 13, she presents two videos that reflect on art, politics and life. Beuys Underground (2017) presents an alternative to the present, in which an oppressive and failing government has created fictionalised enemies to cover up its failures. As the past and future become unavailable as reference points for contemporary consciousness, a group of poets and artists decide to go underground…
(From the SB13 Guide Book)
In another country and in present tense...
Oppressive governance with an anti-freedom agenda has invented fictional enemies to cover up its failures. These enemies are located outside the country borders and are intangible to the extent that digital technologies cannot reach them. The enemies are entirely outside our knowledge domain. The fear is so high, that all controversies and discrepancies are eliminated, and everyone goes back to his/her safe sphere. Another obvious result is the elimination of all possible opposition. People voluntarily delete their memories to be able to endure this situation. People who lose their pasts, childhood and incongruous longing included, begin a new life disconnected from this current world. Consequently, they drag themselves into a new search, once they realize that they are not able to endure the violence of forgetting and of loss.
They are forced to rediscover their existence through finding a shelter underground. The only emotion they can recognize is solitude, and the only tool they have at their disposal, is a limited number of art history books.
As relayed by an inhabitant:
We never felt as lonely as this; we never knew another world that’s different from ours. All our foreign relations were broken and therefore, we forgot our universal values. It was impossible to understand what was happening. Our faces disappeared from the mirrors in a world where no others existed. The past and the future fell into the well of forgetting. We did not know how to prove our existence in a reality where memory and the other were terminated. In order to remember, we had to find images, symbols, allegories, and an expression that would make a community out of us. The most appropriate way to do so was to utilize the opportunities offered to us by the arts, and find new nouns and visuals for redefining objects and our behaviors. We had to first and foremost think of how and through what we would define ourselves. Painters and poets took on this work and began to craft a recalibration of the visual and the verbal. This craft of the visual/verbal would become the guidebook for understanding what was going on in the country.
The following notions had to be defined immediately: Justice, laughter, cloud, headscarf, family, woman, drum, soldier, nurse, death, sculpture, separation, jealousy, hearing, mosque, Atatürk Cultural Center, Persian vase, love, cypress tree etc.
Joseph Beuys was one from the world of art and literature whom we asked for help, and it seemed wise to benefit from his healing and creative powers.
İnci Eviner, 2017
Video stills of details:
Beuys Underground, 2017
2 min 40 sec
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation
Sharjah Biennial 13: Tamawuj Act 1
10 March - 12 June 2017
Venue: Calligraphy Centre
One of the Sharjah Biennial 2017 Prizes
* 1956 Ankara, Turkey. Lives in Istanbul, Turkey.