YARAT Contemporary Art Space is pleased to present a solo exhibition from the Amsterdam-based Kurdish artist Ahmet Öğüt (b. 1981), running 18 March – 14 June 2020. The show features two new, site-responsive commissions spanning across video and sculpture, entitled Hiçbir şiir, şairini sevmez (No poem loves its poet) and Living Beings Squatting Institutions. Referring to the physical and societal structures imposed by mankind throughout history – dividing both living beings and cultures – Öğüt’s works allude to how these structures are ultimately permeable states.
The video installation Hiçbir şiir, şairini sevmez (No poem loves its poet) takes its title from a piece of Turkic graffiti the artist encountered during a visit to Sovetsky – a historic neighborhood in Baku now under demolition. Presented on a large modular LED wall, with original music composed by Sub-Botnick (Ahmet Öğüt and Maru Mushtrieva), the video features overhead footage spanning across Baku’s central districts. Two lost flight attendants can be seen within the rubble holding a road sign for Tolstoy Street, which formerly ran through the Sovetsky neighborhood. Observing the cultural evolution and radical urbanization of Azerbaijan - which has shared Soviet, Turkic and Azerbaijani histories - Öğüt gestures towards the succession of governing bodies who have attempted to remove traces of their predecessors via urban gentrification, social norms and economic powers.
Interweaving throughout the exhibition space, an architectural installation mimics Baku’s city walls, originally erected to hide ‘undesirable’ areas; those which are occupied or are remains of Soviet culture. Creating a path for viewers which both blocks and reveals the video and sculptural works, Öğüt’s installation acts as a metaphor for those who have lived and are still living in Baku today.
Also featured in the exhibition, Living Beings Squatting Institutions is comprised of five sculptures which merge animals with the global cultural institutions they inhabit, including: the Peregrine falcons of the Tate Modern; the Weimaraner dog of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; bats of the National Museum of Cambodia; polar bears around Artica Svalbard; and a cat of YARAT Contemporary Art Centre. Whilst Öğüt highlights how mankind has built spaces to purposefully exclude others, the artist also nods to how living beings and cultures – in their many different forms – will find ways to coexist.
Notes to editors:
Exhibition: Ahmet Öğüt: NO POEM LOVES ITS POET
Location: YARAT Contemporary Art Centre, (Near National Flag Square), Bayil, AZ1003
Dates: 18 March – 14 June, 2020
Preview: 17 March, 2020
Exhibition opens: Tuesday through Sunday, from 12:00 – 20:00
Admission is free