Metamorphosis and Metaphors:
A dialogue on minor aesthetics
Curated by Christian Oxenius
Kılıçali Paşa, Batarya Sk. No:2,
Reuven Israel is featured in “Metamorphosis and Metaphors: a dialogue on minor aesthetics,” a group exhibition held at Ark Kültür (Kılıçali Paşa, Batarya Sk. No:2, İstanbul). Israel's work is presented along with works by Ege Kanar and Panos Tsagaris.
The exhibition “Metamorphosis and metaphors, a dialogue on minor aesthetics” is the first manifestation of a extensive dialogue initiated in the first months of the pandemic. It is a testimony of the discussions and a reflection of the conditions in which these took place (remotely) on possibly one of the most intimate and profound subjects we can approach: an exploration of the self and of our spiritual longing. As a way to compensate for the long hours spent discussing across the slick but cold interface of our screens, the exhibition couldn’t take place anywhere but in a warm and domestic environment such as the one offered by Ark Kültür. It represented for all of us a home to finally meet and bring our thoughts together with the necessary physical presence the subject requires.
With everything the world is witnessing in these past years, how can we stop and think of the basic structures through which we relate to the world, our most intimate tools to build a sense of interest, empathy and community with the universe around us. And more so, how can we do so from the limitations that come from our human condition? Needless to say, the result of these conversations is not a definite answer but a testimony to the complexity with which we approach these questions. It brings together inherently diverging feelings and contradicting positions merging spiritual, psychoanalytical, and scientific interests. It is, in this sense, an occasion to put our intimate sphere out into the open, face to face with one another and continue the dialogue. After two years, in which many of us experienced isolation to a degree not imaginable before, this meeting is also a cathartic moment of re-awakening. It is a much-needed outpour of thoughts and voices in an act of resistance to the atomization of society, which clearly has much longer and complex roots than the current pandemic.
In its current form “Metamorphosis and metaphors, a dialogue on minor aesthetics” therefore can be considered an assemblage of thoughts, forms and rhythms rendering visible and physical the change this research through dialogue produced in us over the course of two years. The title itself introduces some of the themes as well as references used throughout the dialogue. It is a direct reference to Kafka, towards a minor literature by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari and specifically their choice to focus on constructing a project of literary analysis of Franz Kafka’s oeuvre through the lens of his condition as a Jew in Prague using German as his main language. Key here is that German was neither his daily language nor that of the minority he was part of but instead the trade-language at the time. This linguistic choice has profound consequences on how his work is perceived from both the wider public and his own community, putting him in a more atomized position of minority, let’s call this position one of elective minority. This was very much the starting point of many of our discussions as each of us, for their own reasons and dynamics, felt that this image was very much rendering our condition. The other common factor in our early discussions was how to deal change, not in an indirect way – through a metaphor – but in its most essential, alchemic, quality. The materiality of change is a composition of elements brought together in the current manifestation of the exhibition that strengthen our conviction that art and aesthetic research is an often overlooked but key contributing factor to collective research into basic phenomena composing the world around us.
These premises, pushed our collective research and dialogues into an exploration of those intangible elements guiding us in our decisions, steering our subconscious and helping our minds in our continuous story-making effort, effectively building the fabric of the world as we perceive it. Nurtured by our individual interests and researches into philosophy, alchemy, psychology and various branches of spiritual traditions the dialogues became at once intimate and cosmic, universal and personal, religious and political in the realization that none of these dichotomy is truly exclusive and that what we need to strive for, in order to be engaged in true research is a synthesis of all of these in a holistic vision of the world and our position within it.
This exhibition is made possible with the support of ARTIS.