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If I Can’t Dance It’s Not My Revolution


12 OCTOBER 2011 - 12 NOVEMBER 2011

PILOT is opening with one of the leading figures in Turkish contemporary art practice, Halil Altındere! The exhibition titled ‘If I can’t dance it’s not my revolution’ is curated by famous German curator René Block and will be open from 15th of September to 12th of November. 

Halil Altındere gained reputation through his early yet destructive works that manipulate social, cultural codes and question the official material of the state. Altındere focused on criticizing the nationalistic ideologies by dealing with issues, which had been untouchable previously in Turkey. He became one of the leading figures of ‘95 Generation’ through his expression, tone, courageous manner against the taboos and self-renewing attitude. In his later work, Altındere deals with tradition/modernity dilemma, sub-cultures, marginalized minorities, outsiders, pop icons and cult characters.

The artist draws inspiration from the streets; he finds his supplies through daily life and processes the collected objects to question definition and meaning. The works of Altındere deals with questions about how we define the society, the mechanisms that hold it together and what kind of roles politics, taboo and conventions have during the process. His works about cultural identity, nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism or the status quo in art and opposition point out an opportunity to use art as a medium of criticism and resistance.

Title of Altındere’s first solo exhibition derives from a motto referring to anarcho-feminist theoretician and activist Emma Goldman, which then have been associated with libertarian left wing. The exhibition is composed of a wide scale of mediums from videos and photographs to golden, tin plates, bronze or wax sculptures, paintings and performances. Altındere who specifies his material according to the need of the idea, realizes underrated values of the objects and their plunge points, thus setting a unique example of putting these objects into his own artistic language. This selection of works has never been seen together before, and most of the works have never been exhibited publicly.

Three golden bracelets Altındere produced in an attempt to mark Goldman’s words into history with golden letters, are not only jewellery but also wearable/mobile art works. The photographs of young women carrying ‘If I can’t dance it’s not my revolution’ and ‘I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck’ are as powerful as Emma Goldman

The artist’s work titled Dengbejs (2007), which had been exhibited at Documenta 12 in 2007, is the first part of Mesopotomia Trilogy. It chases the subsiding cultures of Dengbejs and plays an entertaining game with tradition and modernity dilemma. As the council of male talks about love, heroism and their losses everything seems allright until the final sequence. In Oracle (2010), the final of the trilogy, we listen to birth givers of Dengbej cultures i.e. women in requiem. These women read the cruelty of world culture, problems of water policies and roots of inequality on the verge of a dreamlike wander around history and geography as they read the fortune from a coffee cup. Mirage (2008) rewinds the film and portraits the suspense between today of Hasankeyf and its probable future.  

Another part of the exhibition consists of three works that Altındere produced as a result of his interest in Metin Erksan, one of the main figures in modern Turkish cinema. The cult piece by Erksan, Time to Love (1977), which hasn’t been screened even after 20 years of its shoot, is the first part of his ‘’blind love trilogy’’. Through the idea of falling in love with an image, it reaches out to an ideal level of ending with an artistic production. The second part of blind love trilogy, Criminals Among Us (1964), deals with a similar image/reality dilemma. Finally, the third work refers and addresses us to I Can Not Live Without You (1977).


Nurse, 2011, Photography, 120x180 cm