3 Şubat 2007 Cumartesi

Europe Hear Us!

In his early works, Vahit Tuna developed a certain sense of humour that worked against the conventions of exhibiting and against the expectations of the institutions inviting him to group shows, mainly by undoing the conceptually invested theme titles that were supposed to frame various works within a single space, in an unproblematised, mechanistic fashion. In his later pieces Tuna applied the same sort of humour onto a more general field of culture, aiming at ironisation of the asymmetrical power relations between cultures. He enacted an artistic persona portrayed as someone coming from a peripheral background and finding childish, naïve or foolish solutions to level up his own position to the status ascribed to Western canons on modern art. In his recent works Vahit Tuna has retained his focus on the cultural dimension but this time, instead of contemplating on his own status, he has tracked a more impersonal path on the issue and offered works dealing with the cultural difference between Turkey and its historical Other, Europe. In these, Tuna has applied the rhetoric and visual insignia of popular nationalism(s) of Turkey which ascended to its climax in the second half of the nineties. His appropriation of national(ist) signifiers operates again through a joyful irony but this strategy does not restrict itself to the reductive constraints of a simple counter-identification. In these works, Tuna pursues rather multiple significations that would disturb not only the isolated, introverted Turkish nationalist psyche but also displace the expectations of a European audience that is in search for an unproblematised cohabitation.
[Erden Kosova]

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