Visitors watch artworks during the fourth edition of BASE in Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 20, 2020. Over one hundred young Turkish artists have exposed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their inner worlds in a big art show in Istanbul, the cultural hub of the country. The fourth edition of BASE, one of the most important art events in Turkey dedicated to young performers, opened its door on Friday with more than 110 artworks of a total of 102 artists from diverse disciplines. (Photo by Osman Orsal/Xinhua)
by Zeynep Cermen
ISTANBUL, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Over one hundred young Turkish artists have exposed the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their inner worlds in a big art show in Istanbul, the cultural hub of the country.
The fourth edition of BASE, one of the most important art events in Turkey dedicated to young performers, opened its door on Friday with more than 110 artworks of a total of 102 artists from diverse disciplines.
"We can follow the traces of the pandemic quarantine process, sometimes indirectly and sometimes directly, on their unique creative styles of the participant artists," curator Derya Yucel told Xinhua.
Called "Far-Near," this year's theme describes the pandemic era, in which individual isolation has become the new normal, and tells a story of humanity's adaptation ability to the changing conditions, according to the organizers.
"The outbreak changed our perception and interpretation of the world. Today, the concepts of distance, proximity, and contact with others create metaphorically stronger associations in art more than ever before," Yucel noted.
"This year, we all went through a very difficult process as we encountered a traumatic period, both individually and socially," Ali Kerem Bilge, a cofounder of BASE, told Xinhua.
"At a time when individuals are confined and return to their immediate surroundings, the art offers us an opportunity to confront ourselves, and at the same time, an occasion for recovery," he said.
Therefore, for him, the works exhibited here attained a peculiar value as they mirrored the traumas of young artists during the isolation period and salvation from stress.
Ogulcan Arslan, a participating photograph artist, entered into a period of introversion when the pandemic first erupted in Turkey in mid-March and begun to interrogate his works.
He now thinks that artists from now on will follow, or already started, a more subjective and personal story flow in their works as contact with others is limited due to the contamination risk.
Arslan participated in the exhibition with a series of photos, which tell stories of horse-drawn carriages on Princes' Islands, an archipelago off Istanbul in the Marmara Sea. As part of the project, he spent two years observing and taking photos of them.
"Before the outbreak, I intended to focus on the stories of coachmen. But later, I had to change my point of view and concentrate on horses to reduce my contact with people over COVID-19 related concerns," Arslan said to Xinhua.
Cemal Nazim Arslan, another artist of the event, produced a series of oil paintings on plexiglass named "Silhouette," telling a story about people being unable to be themselves because of the influence of others.
For Arslan, the pandemic affected all the segments of life, changing the design of the entire world.
"Therefore, the themes of our works and our materials are now all subject to change," he told Xinhua. He also stressed that artists should get rid of their anxieties and adapt to the conditions of the new era to be able to continue creating and producing.
Sadik Ramazan Yilmaz, a ceramic artist, focused on the relationship between "humans and wastes, or the objects that they left behind." In his works, the artist explained the transformation of household wastes into art objects.
Yilmaz had a huge problem in terms of supplying raw material and finding a workplace with an oven for his ceramics during the quarantine time. Despite all the challenges, however, he hasn't stopped producing.
After the pandemic ends, he thinks that an "interdisciplinary language" will be created, and artists will use diverse techniques and go as far as technology supports.
"A painter will not only paint but also use a combination of mixed media," he told Xinhua.
In line with the new COVID-19 measures, the exhibition, which will go on until Nov. 25, can also be visited online. Meanwhile, a limited number of visitors are allowed in the venue to be able to follow the social distancing rule. Enditem