Nature in the Leading Role

11 July 2019 Thu

Artworks that relate to nature in different ways are included in the collection exhibitions at Borusan Contemporary, made more poignant through our perhaps more direct relationship with nature during the summer months.


Jeffrey Blondes’s 4-channel Revelation: 4 Days is part of Overture: Selections from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, which is on view until the end of July. The work is made up of 4 videos with varying times, all filmed to depict one day at the Tazlar village in Afyon.

Before going further into the details of the work, Revelation: 4 Days, it is important to get to know Jeffrey Blondes better and to look into this series of exhibitions that depict works recently added to the collection.

Originally known as a landscape painter, Jeffrey Blondes has been shooting films of different lengths for over 15 years. But one of the most striking features of Blondes's works is the affinity of his moving images to landscape paintings rather than to cinema. Blondes, who has made over 40 films since 2004, ranging from 9 to 48 hours, focused on films rather than painting the landscape, adding the factor of time to the audience’s experience. His films record time in nature and the endless movement of nature. Blondes, observing nature for a long time and then recording it within the scope of his past work, makes this habit visible through his films. In addition to the films, he manages to make the passing time a part of his non-temporal works by presenting consecutive frames from his films in archival prints produced in different media. In video-oriented works that can be observed in two dimensions when projected on the screen, the time factor that comes into play provides the opportunity to experience phenomenal reality (reality that can be experienced through the senses) with developing technology. 1

Jeffrey Blondes, Autumn shoot in Tazlar, October 2017

Exhibition in a dark room, Revelation: 4 days greets viewer with plants swinging in the wind, flying insects, moving clouds and light beams. Everything that is ignored, forgotten and unobtrusive in city life reminds us of its existence in all its glory. While nature continues to live, transform and challenge on the screen, those escaping from the scorching heat take shelter in the shadows, maybe a few people jump into the waters of the Bosphorus, the horns and music sounds of those who stay in traffic interfere with the shouts of the streets. The usual noise of city life cannot suppress the silent power of nature in this room.

We chase away a bird from the city and its chaos. While Istanbul is under our feet and shrinking, it is now the village of Tazlar. This village, where we have been guests for 4 days, is also the starting point of Borusan's story. Thanks to this story, Jeffrey Blondes's work, which was exhibited within the scope of the exhibition, is an exciting geographical selection among Borusan's recent acquisitions.

Borusan Group Founder and Honorary President Asım Kocabıyık was born in 1924 in the village of Tazlar, the subject of Blondes's work. In the book, “From Tazlar Village to Borusan”, he wrote: "This book is written as the story of my family, my story, the story of the Borusan Group, the story of Turkey in the last eighty years. It is the story of me as a peasant child living in the village until the age of six and wandering in the fields barefoot due to lack of means, getting the chance to study at a university and becoming an industrialist.” Although it is now difficult to even imagine the conditions of the post-war period and the years following the foundation of the republic, we can think that the impact of social events in nature are somewhat limited. While humanity is attacking each other to cause utmost harm, nature ignores this destruction as much as it can. Nature's response to the people who turned their backs on those days appears to say “Keep fighting, I will continue to live.” Whatever we have seen in the images recorded recently, the daily routine of nature keeps flowing in this way.

Adding this work to the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection can be considered as an important step towards the preservation of the memory of the company’s founders and creating a visual heritage and this work welcomes the visitors to Kocabıyık's childhood days in the village. Whether it is from the eyes of a child or landscape painters who have followed a long tradition, impressionists who painted the countryside, forests and hills, or Renaissance masters who have explored the basis of their inventions, nature continues to inspire life and art at all times.

Of course, in a similar manner with both the curiosity of a child and the search for the form and content of the generations before him, Blondes stands before the landscape. Visitors to the exhibition have the chance to witness nature across four seasons, which doesn’t slow down for anyone, in a single weekend.

The journey in Overture: Selections from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, shaped by the curator Kathleen Forde, move from constructed nature to mythological beings to a flag transformed into a body 2and to car parts at a recycling plant—a range of landscapes. Among all these winding roads, the Blondes offer as direct as a window to the exterior of this characteristic building. For those who never come out of that window and don't look at what's going on outside, the flowing images could be considered as foreign. The cracks of a tree sheltered in the shadow of a nook, crickets that insistently disrupt the evening's drowsiness, the cotton clouds swept with a sudden wind give a similar chance of despair to someone who has never been interested in Revelation: 4 days. Perhaps with this revelation, God is whispering into our ears the plans of revenge on a planet, inhabitants of which do not even realize its destruction.

Let the mystery of who the revelation comes from, whom the interlocutor receives or what she says— through its collection, Borusan Contemporary invites all those who are attracted by nature and seek different manifestations of it into their own world.

A few steps away from Boomoon's Bosphorus project and the deep blue color of the windows come together and the Bosphorus merges with the understanding. At times when we think we see and know everything, the task of surprising falls upon the shoulders of nature, directed by nature.

Jeffrey Blondes’s Revelation: 4 Days and the artist’s works, which include images that the artist has filmed in different parts of the world, bring a relationship to nature worthy of examination under the roof of Borusan Contemporary. It is exciting to see how this focus of the collection will emerge over time.

1 Hugo Münsterberg, who is interested in psychology, philosophy and cinema, has accepted time, space / causality and causality as concepts of phenomenal reality in his theoretical studies on cinema. Küçükerdoğan Bülent, et al. Sinema Kuramları: Beyazperdeyi Aydınlatan Kuramcılar. Düzenleyen Özarslan Zeynep, Su Yayınevi, 2013.

2 This phrase is borrowed from a text by Merve Ünsal on Kathrin Stumreich’s robot sound installation work Sovereignty.

Deniz Can joined the creative industries in 2011 in Izmir as the program director of KKSM. She realized the first Art Route events in which exhibitions on a monthly-created road map are discussed during visits with the support of local administrations, cultural institutions, and universities. The event series planted the seeds for the experiential art initiative that she co-founded. Can, who continues her works focused on arts and visitor experience in Istanbul, Izmir and abroad, moved to Istanbul to continue her institutional curatorial practice as an independent curator. She carries forward her academic writing skills professionally following the education she received in American Collegiate Institute, Economy Department in Koç University and Masters in Cultural Management at Istanbul Bilgi University

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