The first major survey of Aydan Murtezaoğlu and Bülent Şangar, prominent figures in shaping the emerging contemporary art scene in 1990s' Turkey, is presented at SALT Beyoğlu. The exhibition is titled after the term for narrative inconsistencies in cinema and literature, which serves as a metaphor for the convergence of Murtezaoğlu and Şangar's individual practices around collaborative works and the hiatus in their exhibition histories.
Continuity Error begins with Unemployed Employees-I found you a new job! (2006-2018) in the Forum. Together with this performative work, Lab Created (2006-2018) on the third floor, marks the conceptual boundaries of the exhibition. Shaped through spontaneous dialogues between visitors and five people hired to work around a representative production line, Unemployed Employees-I found you a new job! problematizes production processes and methods of not only fast-moving consumer goods, but also of culture. In a laboratory-like setting where a reading performance is regularly staged, Lab Created draws attention to the water and environmental politics in Turkey by examining the critical consequences of policy changes. Contradictions between political discourses and scientific reports and analyses are highlighted within the installation. In both of these instances of collaboration, the presence of mediators and participants is central to the articulation of the works.Sangar Gorsel Image 2 1 Bülent Şangar’ın İsimsiz (Pencereler) işinden detay, 1997-2007
Detail from Bülent Şangar’s Untitled (Windows), 1997-2007
Instead of conceptualizing a passive viewer, both Murtezaoğlu and Şangar position the individual as an "interlocutor," who thinks, makes sense, and maneuvers alongside the artists. Continuity Error, developed over an intense, two-year-long preparatory period, offers a selection of works revealing overlaps, discrepancies, and interactions among their individual and collaborative practices.
Reflecting daily experiences and familiar states of mind, Murtezaoğlu and Şangar's works blend fact and fiction, shifting the emphasis from variations in singular realities to their societal dimension. Şangar features relatives or acquaintances in his set-ups, whereas Murtezaoğlu often builds on visual records from her personal archive. Istanbul becomes another layer of their production for both artists as "the place where they belong, over which they profess ownership and custodianship, together with which they come into existence." As a result, the metamorphosis of the city through various administrative schemes is visibly integrated with Murtezaoğlu's articulation of the states of arrest, disjunction, interpretation, and involvement, as well as in Şangar's scenarios of tension, uncanniness, closure, and disclosure.
Murtezaoğlu surveys sociopolitical movements and their traces in daily life, preserving and rethinking critical "moments" in the mediums of print, photography, and installation, which, in turn, become contact points for bilateral exchanges. The artist incorporates herself and the interlocutor without a hierarchical structure, and thereby creates spaces of negotiation where no one has the upper hand. This meticulously fine-tuned multi-layeredness subsequently allows for the interlocutor to roam free within the work and create multiple interpretations.
Şangar addresses tragic news stories inside and outside the home environment, which have become more and more ordinary due to societal ruptures in Turkey. With an interest in disintegration, desensitization, and crises that result from the proximity between the private and public spheres, the artist builds tension by lining up scenes of sacrifice, accident, entrapment. A complete immersion in the film strip-like sequence of frames guides the interlocutor to the resolution of the conflict or the realization of an infinite loop. Ensnared by the absence of a final verdict in Şangar's work, the interlocutor is left to ponder the conditions that have led to its production, with the impression that there is no way out.