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11.05.2023 - 24.06.2023

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Labirent Sanat is hosting Nadide Akdeniz's solo exhibition titled “The Life of Thing in Itself” between 11 May - 24 June 2023.


Sensibility immensely more irritable... the abundance of disparate impressions greater than ever -cosmopolitanism in foods, literatures, newspapers, forms, tastes, even landscapes. The tempo of this influx prestissimo; the impressions erase each other; we instinctively resist taking in anything- taking anything deeply, to digest anything; a weakening of the power to digest results from this. A kind of adaptation to this flood of impressions takes place: men unlearn spontaneous action; they merely react to stimuli from outside.[1]


Nietzsche's critical thoughts on capitalist modernization from the perspective of the metaphor of nutrition and digestion are still strongly valid today. Everything desired, especially happiness, is formulated by the object world of the consumer society. While in the past, objects existed with an identity established between the people who own them and their owners, today we see that objects can also determine the situation. In fact, it is the commercial objects, brands, everything that exists in daily life that determines the situation. We are physically, economically, socially, and psychologically dependent on things, both in the sense of relying on things and subject to the conditions of those things on which we rely! Socially and individually, humanity is involved in various states of dependency that limit their ability to develop.


Does it matter that in our daily lives we forget the spatial and temporal connectedness of things? Maybe not, but it is only recently that we have been made aware of the sweatshop conditions and exploitative labor relations that lie behind many of the goods we take for granted, or the destruction of elephant populations caused by the ivory trade. These distant effects of our fascination with things are increasingly drawn to our attention.[2]


There is no possibility in the universe for a disconnected and detached local existence. Everything that surrounds us, including our own being, is interrelated, not isolated. Their thingy lies in their connections and flows into other forms. They form presence in the constant flow of matter, energy, and information. In this respect, the thing is the self with presence. Things cause us to think about the universe and our place on earth. Objects seem to impose something on us that affects some basic ideas about what existence, the earth, and society are.


A thing is just the rift between what it is and how it looks. Kant gives an example of this rift through raindrops: You can feel the raindrops on your head, on your face - but you cannot perceive the actual raindrops in itself.[3] Things are themselves, but we cannot point them directly. Or there is a difference between the trees (phenomenon) that I see, experience, and interact with one by one and the essence of the tree concept (noumenon). Because appearances are variable things according to the essence. The tree I see may rot over time and mix with the soil, however, when we mean the concept of tree, we are talking about something absolute, beyond space and time, that preserves itself unaltered. Kant says that one cannot know what is in a thing itself. When we look at a table, we do not know what it is in itself, but what it is conveyed by the faculty of judgment filtered by the mind through the experience that keeps it appearing. In his anthropology studies, Leroi-Gourhan argues that the so-called appearance is the “shell of things”, that is, the deep and cultural side of the same object and its habitat; that is, the delimitation between the anthropological milieu, but also and more of a contact surface.[4]


Gerhard Richter creates a happening with Konrad Lueg on October 11, 1963, by placing all the floors of a house and furniture on pedestals while preserving their spatial position. With this work that emerged from his theory which he defined as capitalist realism, by using the most ordinary objects of use that surround us in our daily life, he turns matter into thought by breaking it out of its context in a sense.


In her exhibition titled “The Life of Thing in İtself”, Nadide Akdeniz paints the rooms that contain the things we use in daily life, in their solitude, in the absence of their owners and users. In this desolation, ordinary objects of use and domesticated plants piled up at a certain point in the room gain a fantastic life with the uncanny feeling of desolation, although they are "ordinary". Nadide Akdeniz depicts the object-oriented world, in which the position of human has become obscured and is almost the complement of things, in a black and white fiction. We sense the existence of the “real” owner of the space, which will soon enter the frame, based on the traces on the furniture, the weathering, a cake or fruit plate that has just been left on the table, and the vitality of the plants. In her paintings, which she does not center the human being, but simply by making the human's presence felt, she allows us to listen to the life in itself of things that we perceive as a background or frame, in the hustle and bustle of daily life in the space. She even goes further and invites the viewer to dive into contemplation by sinking into the armchair standing in the corner of the room.


In Nadide Akdeniz's indoor and outdoor paintings, a tension created by dualities such as real and fiction, visible and latent, object and subject, artificial and natural, masculine and feminine, closure and openness, noumenon and phenomenon, death and life, which cannot be noticed at first glance, but intensifies as time passes, is felt. While the figure watching the still sea behind the plants is presented to us as a peaceful environment, the camera, which is noticed as we go into the details, blurs our emotions with all its materiality and pulls us into a series of interrogations. In another painting, the helicopter, which is mostly out of the frame, shows itself as if torn the silence. Nadide Akdeniz reinforces the ambivalent mood she creates with her subject choices, with her framing choices that never allow the gaze to completely dominate the painted thing. Is what is outside the frame always a gift to your imagination, or is it just another confirmation of the Kantian rift between phenomenon and the thing?


You can see Nadide Akdeniz's solo exhibition titled “The Life of Thing in Itself”, consisting mainly of pencil drawings, at Labirent Sanat until June 24.  


[1] Friedrich Nietzche, “The Will to Power”, Tr. Walter Kaufmann & R.J. Hollingdale, New York: Random House, 1968, p.47.

[2] Ian Hodder, “Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things”, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012, p.7.

[3] Immanuel Kant, “Pratik Aklın Eleştirisi”, Tr. Oruç Arıoba, Mete Tunçay, İstanbul: Türkiye Felsefe Kurumu, 1999.

[4] Ernesto L. Francalanci, “Nesnelerin Estetiği”, Tr. Durdu Kundakçı, Ankara: Dost, 2012, p. 15.


The Life of Thing in Itself

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