22.09.2022 - 08.10.2022

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Labirent Sanat presents the “Appropriation” exhibition curated by İsmet Doğan and featuring works of Damla Menteş, Hıdır Eligüzel, Jeff Oslo, Karbon, Kübra Ayyıldız.KA, Met-İs, Nesrin İçen, Okyanus Çağrı Çamcı, Öner Başkan, Selman Akıl, and Serhat Akavcı between 22 September – 8 October 2022.

"All living beings are in the open: they manifest themselves and shine in their appearance. But only human beings want to take possession of this opening, to seize hold of their own appearance and of their own beingmanifest. Language is this appropriation, which transforms nature into face. This is why appearance becomes a problem for human beings: it becomes the location of a struggle for truth.” 1

In the last few years, the concept of appropriation has become more widely understood as “the act of taking or using something from a culture that does not belong to you, without specifically showing that you understand or respect it” because of its cultural implications. Perhaps less well known is the historical context of self-appropriation as a theoretical term and practice in art. While there may be minor differences in the definitions, in essence, appropriation in art is a purposeful and creative practice that reuses, references, copies, or owns other works of art or artists' visual materials. The act of appropriation has deep theoretical and conceptual roots in art history; it has survived as a practice that sprouted through centuries of art making and distribution and manifested in countless ways.

“Appropriation” is self-reflection on what we do. It is also self-contradictory thinking. And it saves thought from homogenization. The art of “appropriation” or self-owning basically criticizes modernity. It is a critical act. The act of appropriation displaces, uproots, and bastardizes. It underlines that an appropriation is also an active act rather than a passive reception.

“Appropriation “brings closer”, “equalizes”, makes the culturally distant “contemporary and similar”. But the distance covered here is not only cultural and temporal, but also hermeneutic. Appropriation is a struggle against alienation from meaning itself, that is, from the value system on which the text is based. The reference to the living world and subjects suspended by writing is revived in the world of readers with appropriation. Thus, the vitality of the discourse at the time of production is regained and the sentences of the text become meaningful here and now.” 2 “There is an important difference between appropriating and interpreting a text. While interpretation strives to be objective, appropriation always include the reader's world and historicity.” 3

“Context is everything.” It is a question of displacing the context imposed by the West. It is clear that contemporary art and its historiography are Eurocentric. There is a (colonial) situation that celebrates and refers to the western civilization that created the monster. Reflecting on the limits of the concept in non-modern societies, such as here, forces us to navigate the different winding, dangerous paths. Non-modern thought offers a critique of both the modern fascination with innovation and the revival of the no less modern tradition. Critical thinking, briefly criticizing, became the work and subject of this exhibition. How long could the power of the rationalist west, the logos, the father last!

The “Appropriation” exhibition aims to re-read the art tradition. In the exhibition, we also see what we have appropriated and how. "The mind reason, it does not think." “The power of reason is a bloody power.” However, thinking is not an automatic act of the mind, but something chosen and worked on.

The works produced by Damla Menteş, Hıdır Eligüzel, Jeff Oslo, Karbon, Kübra Ayyıldız.KA, Met-İs, Nesrin İçen, Okyanus Çağrı Çamcı, Öner Başkan, Selman Akıl and Serhat Akavcı for the “Appropriation” exhibition curated by İsmet Doğan can be seen at Labirent Sanat until 8 October 2022.
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[1] Giorgio Agamben, Means without End: Notes on Politics, tr. Cesare Casarino & Vincenzo Binetti, (Minneapolis-London, University of Minnesota Press, 2000), p.91.

[2] Selami Varlık, Paul Ricoeur’de Temellük ve Tahayyül (Appropriation and Imagination in Paul Ricoeur), tr. Selin Yağmur Sönmez (Istanbul, Alfa Press, 2021), p.21.

[3] Ibid, tr. Selin Yağmur Sönmez, p.13.

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Appropriation