7 turkish artists:
Mike Mandel & Chantal Zakari

with Mike Mandel
2009 - Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw GA
2011 - Photographic Resource Center, Boston University, Boston MA
2013 - Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore MD

exhibit includes color photographs, silver gelatin prints, oil paintings, resin busts, a video, a postcard rack, and original newspaper frontpages
exhibition catalog as a pdf file

A series of photographs, presented as single images, diptychs and triptychs, are of photo images of Turkish culture, religion, images of Atatürk, schools, advertising and Western influenced popular culture. Forty-five busts reference the omnipresence of Atatürk statues throughout the country. Made out of resin plastic these busts suggest an imperfect, degraded presence. The artists have commissioned commercially produced Chinese oil paintings of their digitally collaged images creating a parallel with the imagery of Mao from the 1950’s. The “made in China” paintings of Turkish society also recognizes the impact of
the global economy within the country. The artists have collected and re-present series of vernacular artifacts, post cards that romanticize military service; a collection of front pages of the tabloid press that document the spectacle of unintended consequences: Zakari herself being proclaimed by the kemalist press “The Girl of the Republic” after she held up a picture of Atatürk to demonstrators at an islamist march in Ankara. Over all, the installation reflects the complex relationship in Turkey between secularists, the islamist movement and military power.

The variety of visual strategies in the exhibition suggest the look of a group show. “7 Turkish Artists” is a humorous reference to this mistaken first glance and challenges the viewer to come to terms with the complete title “7 Turkish Artists: Mike Mandel & Chantal Zakari.” Until recently, Turkish artists who might wish to make art using imagery of Atatürk did so at the risk of violating laws protecting Atatürk’s imagery punishable with years in prison. ironically, for sculptors working in the Turkish public sphere the only opportunity for work was to receive a commission for an Atatürk statue for a government municipality. “7 Turkish Artists” is therefore also a deadpan reference to the limitation of making art about Atatürk, especially by Turkish artists.