Taksim Triptych

 

Taksim square. Police forces are surrounding you. In front, a grey fence surrounds Ataturk Cultural Center. Wherever you watch, you are not free to move, whatever you do, you are not free to express yourself.

 

No blurry photographs of tear gas, no injuries or bloody faces, but police forces and protesters facing each other on Taksim square. With his triptych, Andrej Ðerković captures the moment of suspension of hostilities during Gezi protests and police crackdown, which started nearly one year ago.

 

Locus of protests in modern Turkey, the destruction of Taksim Square and its today well-known Gezi park, drove thousands of people on the streets all over Turkey. For months, citizens shouted their non-satisfaction towards political values they no longer understand and share. Six young men lost their lives. Diren was and is still the motto of part of Turkish citizens: resist against a power, which tends to homogenize way of thinking.

 

Choosing wide-scale format of the triptych, Andrej Ðerković is reminding us the close relation between the sense of place and the sense of belonging. While you enter the gallery, a grey wall is facing you. On the sides, blue uniforms squeeze you in between two security lines.  Revealing the deliberate attempt of erasure of last year Gezi events (spring 2013), the grey color is asepticising the urban environment and the conscious.

 

Ataturk Cultural Center stands as a relic of past times, of a political legacy struggling to survive. But it also embedded struggles against that political legacy itself. In this upheaval, struggles attempt to converge, but Andrej Ðerković triptych reveals the dramatic reality standing behind these struggles, which do not yet share the same road. Besieged by a coercive power, citizens are pushed to existential limits. In this dramaturgy, sense of place and sense of belonging no longer coexist. The last is overcoming the first. Shared values become hard to defend against the trilogy: power, religion and security.

 

 

Nadia Capuzzo, Sarajevo, April 2014