How does one undertake a collaboration spanning across two continents and involving artists and art spaces from three vastly different locations? Better still, how does one conclude such a collaboration? Istanbul artist Osman Bozkurt’s Anatomy of A Deal represents the final chapter of a year-long collaborative project between Arrow Factory (Beijing), PiST/// (Istanbul) and Collective(Edinburgh) entitled How To Turn the World By Hand. This mutli-layered exchange among artists and art spaces explores themes of trade, exchange and mobilized commerce across geographic and cultural divides. To kick-off the project, each organization altered their logos as if to indicate sub-branches or “franchise operations” in each of the three respective cities. At different points over the last twelve months, How To Turn the World By Hand has manifested in literal forms of exchange by instigating a tri-directional swapping and trading of art spaces.
Bozkurt’s month-long occupation of the Arrow Factory space continues the theme of trade and exchange and culminates in an installation inspired by time spent in Chinese markets researching Turkish-China business relations and merchant practices. Bozkurt focuses on spaces of commerce such as trade fairs, wholesale markets, and tourist outlets where physical transactions between buyers and sellers take place. In these zones communication and interaction are crucial, but without a shared language both parties must rely upon other methods and devices to interrelate and negotiate a deal. Enter the calculator, a ubiquitous and unifying tool that transcends language and returns all communication to a bare interplay of numbers. For his installation Anatomy of A Deal, Bozkurt not only picks up on the pivotal role the calculator plays in the global marketplace that is China, but on the ways in which these devices transform into personalized extensions of each seller and become worn with habitual, daily use. Combined with video clips shot in Beijing that emphasize split-second exchanges and gestures between buyer and seller, Anatomy of A Deal presents the calculator as a binding metaphor for a community united by systems of wordless negotiation and friendly yet cutthroat bargaining. The obsessive behaviors displayed within these marketplaces and wholesale centers—similar to his earlier work Tape Republic (2009)—form characteristic touchstones that fold sharply into larger global circuits of production, consumerism and distribution.
Osman Bozkurt (b.1970, Turkey) studied photography at Mimar Sinan University and is co-founder of PiST/// Interdisciplinary Project Space, a non-for-profit, independent artist-run space in Istanbul. Bozkurt uses photography and video to instigate notions of a civic memory, and to witness the intricacies and forgotten paradoxes of urban life. His works have been exhibited at Tate Modern, London; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul; Villa Manin Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, Udine; Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Lille; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; North Adams, MA; Asia Triennial Manchester, UK and many other group exhibitions. He lives and works in Istanbul.
About the exhibition
Date: 25 Jun – 13 Aug 2012
Location: Arrow Factory
Courtesy of the artist and Arrow Factory, for further information please visit www.arrowfactory.org.cn.