ISTANBUL – March 4, 2009
Immigrant artist’s fire fueled by sign in elevator
Feeling like he didn’t belong in Turkey, artist Hakan Akçura left his home country four years ago for Sweden, where he thought everything would be different. His struggles as an immigrant there have inspired the work in his new exhibition.
Rebelling against an imposition
“The cruelness of this saying and image affected me deeply,” Akçura told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. “It was like an imposition that we must face every day to stick in an elevator and die.”
For his new exhibition, Akçura has reinterpreted the sign to read “Varning för klämrisk! Farligt att transportera själ som saknar uppriktighet eller mod,” or, “Warning: Risk for jamming! It is dangerous to carry the soul without candidness or courage.” This saying provides the title of his first [third H.A.] personal exhibition, which opened in Stockholm on Feb. 27 and runs through Mar. 15. The exhibition features posters that Akçura prepared and hung on the streets of Stockholm, along with other works. The exhibition may also be viewed at http://www.open-flux.blogspot.com.
Akçura’s exhibition consists of installations, photographs and videos. The photographic installation, titled “Elevators, elevators -or a autoportrait of the artist as anewspaper runner- 1,” contains images from the artist’s early years in Stockholm. “I took these photographs of my reflections in the elevator mirrors while I was working at night,” Akçura said. The videos include “An Argument on Unemployment and the Swedish culture at the Workplace Swedish at Practice Course,” “Catharsis,” “Rush Hour,” “Hesa Fredrik,” “Why Not?” and Akçura’s favorite work, “Look, what beatiful seashells!” This video, which he shot in 2008, features two adults discussing world matters in children’s voices while walking down a street. […while sitting near the harbour. H.A.]
“With this exhibition, I aimed to draw attention to dangers that we face despite not [being] warned,” said Akçura. “When a situation that we are used to changes, can we think about the reason for this change and approve it? When we meet someone who can hardly speak our language, can we approach him with tolerance and understanding, like a confident host?”
Speaking about Sweden and the problem of immigration, Akçura referred to the Swedish word “invandrare,” meaning “those who come on foot,” and said: “It is impossible for this walk to end, to reach a goal and the feeling of belonging even for the Swedish state or a middle-class Swedish person.”