Galerist is pleased to present the third solo exhibition of Rasim Aksan, “12.12.12” between the dates November 17 and December 30, 2016.
Taking its title from the date of 30 December 2012 when the artist was drafted into his military service, the exhibition focuses on the practices of counting down the remaining time in the context of mandatory military service and takes inspiration from the tradition of “daybreak cards” as a form and object at the center of such practices in Turkey.
In this new series of works Aksan reinterprets the imagery printed on the front side of daybreak cards while conserving their quadriptych structure, which has a clear formal resemblance to altarpieces, composed of multiple panels, but in miniature form made to fit inside the pockets of uniforms. Created on paper by using aquarelle pencil applied with airbrush, the hyperrealist visual language of these works conceals autobiographical clues and a sharp social criticism. Aksan’s compositions bring together eroticized female bodies, images of the homeland qualified as ‘mother’, hearts and flowers as clichéd expressions of a yearning for both with images of tanks and machine guns - phallic objects symbolizing male action. All of these elements act as privileged objects of projection throughout the experience of military service that lies at the foundation of an exclusively male socialization. While focusing on the associative relationships built on daybreak cards between a longing for the homeland, for loved ones and female bodies, the polyptych structure of these works is reminiscent of multiple-paneled altarpieces depicting narrative scenes throughout Renaissance. Through this art historical allusion, the works refer on one hand to an iconography where the coalescence of nation-states and capital has replaced religion, and on the other, to the contemporary conditions of image circulation through channels of mass communication and micro-cultural interpretations of these circulating images.