“Galileo washing the upper part of his body, puffing, and good humoured: ‘Put the milk on the table…’”
As Henri Lefebvre mentions in the preface to his book "The Critique of Everyday Life", Brecht's play on the hero of knowledge Galileo, begins with this "deheroic" sentence. Contrary to the classical theater, which purifies everyday life, filters out impurities, and represents it by giving noble and magnificent borders, he talks about the side of Brecht's epic theater that penetrates daily life, which does not purify daily life and illuminates its contradictions. Then we should first “put the milk on the table…”; Let's put aside the heroism, great and extraordinary events, let's put our feet on the ground and look at what we are familiar with in our daily life; Let's talk about what we don't question, what we look at and don't see. Let's talk about things that seem to be "insignificant and worthless", as George Perec said, "...that's what makes all these equally, or even more important, among so many questions that we try to find our truth in vain." Perhaps then we will feel a contact in our anesthetized body. We can see the beach under the cobblestones; feel the water flowing through our palms, the wind touching our cheeks.
In order to talk about the ordinariness of everyday life, that we can't see although we look and ask questions again, for the contemporary art exhibition "When Nothing Happens", we came together with twelve artists, inspired by the literary writers who pursue the ordinary and seek the miracle in the common, the thinkers who embrace life, and the avant-gardes who fuse art with life. We embraced the liberating, “familiar” in the line extending from the daily life of people to the social. Sometimes we tried to take a closer look at an object we came across unexpectedly, what we didn't notice as we passed by, sometimes a day of us, our plans that didn't come true, what wasn't written in the newspapers, what we didn't want to hear, sometimes things right next to us and what our intuitions made us feel when we were at the abyss of time.
While talking about the value we attach to things is actually the meanings we attach to them, Ali Kanal glorifies this timeless and spaceless object by carrying an object that surprises him when he encounters it among the ruins.
Aslıhan Güçlü draws a self-portrait from inner and direct life in her work, in which she explains that the time that a person realizes only by dividing it into days, months, weeks, and years turns into the time spent in lockdown at home during the pandemic, and the time turns into a field of intuition.
Ateş Alpar draws attention to what the silenced carry, and wants to make the ordinary visible again; He brings us eye to eye with those whose voice we do not hear even though he speaks.
Can Tanrıseven draws attention to apartment names that we pass by and do not notice. It shows us the names that give character to the material, perhaps the joyful poetry of the city, unlike the apartments that we are now familiar with, turning into billboards where the construction companies write their names in gold letters.
Gilles Deleuze's affirmative approach that transcends the distance between concepts and life and embraces life by addressing existence with dynamic concepts instead of static ones appears on a poster. In Didem Erişkin's visual design titled "Existence, Duration, Difference", concepts sometimes merge into each other, sometimes diverge, flow towards infinity, but they undoubtedly dance together.
Ekin İdiman, in his three-dimensional spatial video mapping installation, in which the metropolitan person likens the system to a microorganism that reproduces itself every day, renders the urban space of the person alienated from his environment, body and labor as a representative interaction network. In the work, the urban space is an imagination of the monotonous life of the people who act with the given codes, serving the system, and the order that we reproduce every day is the biggest infection of our age: illusion is actually life itself.
Kıvılcım S. Güngörn plays with the objects in our daily lives in her work “Massa Design”. A curved branch, a hairclip (saç tokası di mi?), a burning lantern, stones lined up side by side, a crooked nail… With these memory objects that no longer belong to the time and place they are in, she tells us the dream of a time traveler child and leaves an empty parenthesis with the representations of the objects. Maybe that emptiness has a magical tone too.
The monotony in our lives is full of images waiting to be noticed. Images are like words waiting to be accumulated; words spoken but not heard; the seen but not seen. Okan Pulat photographs what is far from the ordinary in our daily life as much as they are ordinary; images echo in our minds as words.
“The familiar, precisely because it is familiar, remains unknown” said Hegel. Everything familiar to us, close to us, is actually foreign in a sense. Selin Yağmur Sönmez's collages suggest looking again at ordinary objects standing next to us, based on the idea that the creative and liberating lies in the familiar.
Sezgi Abalı, in company with the sound of the wind, narrates the liberated existence of the human being, who goes back and forth between existence and extinction, when he starts to feel the emptiness. We come across the representation of another kind of encounter with ourselves inside a box. Maybe this is the futile effort of the one of us, who we can touch at any moment, before he turns into anything or anyone.
Zekiye Buğurcu shares one of her day in her work titled “Diary”. She talks about the acacia tree she watches by the sea, the wind she feels while drinking coffee on the balcony, the blue and purple artichoke field she sees in her dream, and the starlice flower. And she describes a dream in her diary that she drew with coal.
Can we suffer from the unlivable? How do we feel when our plans fall apart? Zeynep Merve Çiçek, in her "Non-Diary" work, conveys the effects of plans on herself that did not materialize during the pandemic period, and in her work, "Can the past be intervened?" she talks about us, the ordinary person in daily life, the recent past in the newspapers but which we can quickly forget: “… someone was hungry, someone was full, someone could not find justice, someone produced, someone consumed, someone got up, someone shone, then someone saw, someone never saw… ”
We leave the milk on the table.
Günseli Baki, Yücel Tunca
Yellow Submarine Art Initiative
art of everyday life