In the postcards that I collected from Paris and Istanbul, I gave the possibility of existence to the girls captured in the patterns and they told their own stories.
To insert New Citizen into Europe with its new historical associations, allowed for an expression that pushes the limits of tradition of European representation. As a way to transcend representation, I borrowed strategic sources from wall papers and Turkish tiles, which became tools of deconstruction that will work from within the patterns. Colonial images, which have been relatively excluded from art history –monkeys running around in joy, Chinese women involved in a tea ceremony– found a place for themselves, multiplied infinitely with the surfaces they occupy and became part of collective memory with the atmosphere they have created. This ornamental transformation of the “Other” is the result of a decorative reconciliation. Without realizing, they affect our gaze and transform it. Contrary to intentional gaze, we don’t look at wallpapers; they surround us as objects of involuntary unintentional gaze… Wallpapers -besides hosting heavy oil paintings and reflecting the house owner’s elite taste- and tiles are a realm of uncanny images that are accumulating towards the unconscious beyond a mystical atmosphere.
I have performed interventions on the postcard, which I found at a museum foyer in Paris, to reveal the desire arrested in the images of the Chinese woman and the boy. The Chinese woman is surprised by the sudden appearance of her phallus and the boy becomes a narcissist against Europe’s Islamophobia; covered and caressing himself. Knowledge that is colonial, oriental or produced through any other ideological discourse does not only create the other but also transforms it into an image. To save ‘difference’ that cannot be rehabilitated or tamed from these discourses, I bestowed them with their own gestures.
The Çintemani pattern, which is often used as a touristic image of Turkey, has been removed from its own surface and circulates as a cultural representation. The violence inherent in this pattern, which is a populist reflection of cultural consumption, released the possibility of resistance in the dizzying and angry actions of the girls. To create a space of existence for the New Citizen, I freed it from the imposed definitions and from the world of narrow meanings of all ideological gazes. To reflect on the cultural differences that are suppressed and left outside of the political borders of Europe, hiding in the innocent patterns of the ornament, I entitled them to the right to move. These timeless frozen images are freed with the possibilities of video technology.
Translated by İz Öztat