Hurriyet Daily News: "Immigrant artist’s fire fueled by sign in elevator"

Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review
ISTANBUL – March 4, 2009

Immigrant artist’s fire fueled by sign in elevator
[I would prefer “Immigrant artist’s inspired by sign in elevator” actually. I have no fueled fire against signs. H.A.]
Hakan Akçura, a Turkish artist living in Sweden, has declared war against a warning sign that he saw in an elevator, reinterpreting it, hanging posters on the streets of Stockholm and opening his own personal exhibition
[I didn’t declare war against a warning sign… It’s only one of the nice metaphor for this exhibitions concept. H.A]

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.
[I said: I haven’t problem about belonging since long time ago. I have lost it when I lived in Turkey. I didn’t think everything would be different in Sweden. H.A.]

An artist with the Neo Fluxus movement, Akçura is a painter, a poet, a video artist and a performer. In order to make a living in Sweden, he worked along with other immigrants as a paperboy, between the hours of 2 and 6 a.m. While they worked, there was an important rule the paperboys had to obey: They should not make noise that would disturb the residents’ sleep.

Rebelling against an imposition
[I talked about only one kind of “rebelling” in this interview: When I was making preparations for dealing out newspapers from top flat to below, I taken photographs from mirrors as self-portraits. This preperation work maid me feel like a rebell against the necessity of it. H.A.]
During this silent struggle, Akçura noticed a warning sign in the elevator of a building. It read “Farligt att transportera gods i hissar som saknar innerdörr eller fotocell,” meaning, “It is dangerous to carry stuff in the elevators that do not have inner doors and a photocell.” A picture next to the sign showed a man whose handcart has become stuck to the elevator, leading him to be crushed to death.

“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.”
[I didn’t say anything like this… H.A.]

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

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.”
[Wrong translation of my answer… I said: “It is impossible for this walk to end, to reach a goal and the feeling of belonging according to the Swedish state or a middle-class Swedish person.” H.A.]

Vercihan Ziflioglu

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About omosis

Selected exhibitions, activities: 2013 Artist presentation: "Being in Sweden, being an immigrant, being an artist", Adaevi, Museum of the Princes' Islands, İstanbul, Turkey "Yersiz: Kader Birliği", Mardin, Kızıltepe, Turkey “Ja jag vill leva jag vill dö”, Tegen 2, Stockholm "Vilken tur! Himlen omfamnar oss!" / "What luck! The sky embraces us!" / "Ne şans! Gökyüzü hepimizi sarıyor!" Photography Exhibition, Ideas and Innovation Fair, Stockholm "Milat" Exhibition for Hrant, Getronagan Lisesi'nden Yetişenler Derneği, Harbiye / Rumeli Han C blok 6.Kat - Beyoğlu, İstanbul 2012 Migration Connections Project 2012 Exhibition, Museum of the Princes' Islands, İstanbul, Turkey Edinburgh Middle Eastern Film Festival, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Artist Talking and Screening, Agent Ria, Still Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 2011 Ars retorica, Hall the university library of Paris 8 – Saint Denis, France The Exhibition on the 20th Anniversary of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey: Where Fire Has Struck, DEPO Istanbul, Turkey 2010 PAI 2010-2011 in Thebes, Conference Center of Thebes, Greece International Media Arts Festival Videfesta’10: Archive Fever, Goethe Institute, Ankara, Turkey Temps D'Images Portugal 2010 Festival Film Award for Films on Art section "From childhood to police station" Exhibition, Free Expantion Platform, Istanbul, Turkey HEP Iran screening, Sazmanab Project, Tehran, Iran AthensArt 2010 contemporary art exhibition, Athens, Greece PAI 2010 contemporary art exhibition, Samothrace, Greece "Thistles of Sazak" screening and exhibition, 7th Karaburun Festival, Izmir, Turkey Distance Festival, London, UK "Artist Cinema", Art Beijing, China Over trubled water, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden Ankara International Film Festival, "Video: Spaces of Memory", Ankara, Turkey Direct Channell, Canakkale' Turkey !F Istanbul Film Festival 2010 online program: See it yourself (This village)' Istanbul, Turkey HEP Screening, AFA Beijing, China Tornavideo, Tamirhane, Ankara, Turkey 2009 “Projected Visions: 35 years of Turkish video art” exhibition Meeting Europe - Istanbul, Wacken Exhibition Centre, Strasbourg, France HEP (Human Emotion Project) Screening, AFA @ Portuguese Bookshop Gallery, Macau, China co-exhibition "Dirty Story", BM Suma, Istanbul, Turkey HEP (Human Emotion Project) Screening, Caldas-da-Rainha, Portugal HEP Screening, Berlin, Germany "Thistles of Sazak", art performance, Karaburun, Izmir, Turkey "Istanbul-Off-Spaces" co-exhibition, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany co-exhibition "Interzone:Nation", Gallery Galzenica, Zagreb, Croatia HEP Screening, LaSala in Cigunuela, Spain HEP screening, Melbourne, Australia "Varning för klämrisk", Solo Exhibition, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden to Ankara International Film Festival, Ankara, Turkey 2008 1st Int. Roaming Biennial of Tehran, Berlin, Germany "Hög på Golvet" group exhibition at Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden 1st Int. Roaming Biennial of Tehran, Istanbul, Turkey International Mail Art Project 2008, Conceptual Continuity Supermarket 2008 Art Fair with Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden 2007 "Fear of god" co-exhibition, Hafriyat Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey "Bodrum Film Festival", Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey "Jag, min husses hund" group exhibition, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden "Nightcomers" project in the 10th Biennial of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey Scope NYC [PAM], Scope Art Fair, Lincoln Center, New York, USA 2006 co-exhibition "Labyrint" in Botkyrka Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden Artist's "Sann dialog" ("Real dialogue") contemporary art activity has been started. Stockholm, Sweden Artist sent his videoperformance named as "Öppet brev till Migrationsverket" to Migrationsverket ("Open letter to Sweden Migration Board") 51', Stockholm, Sweden 2004 Artist given his art-object named as "För uppehållsstillstånd" to Migrationsverket ("For residence permission"), Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "Bridge from east to west", BBK Karlsruhe, Germany 2003 co-exhibition of AIAP "Hal/iç" with work name the "Difficult sleep". Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey 2002 co-exhibition "Arts Plastiques" in METU Spring Festival at METU Congre Center, Ankara, Turkey co-exhibition "A travel into life" at Kargart, Istanbul, Turkey 2001 "Sometimes when I'm high, I watch TV", video performance screening, Dulcinea, Istanbul, Turkey Artist's "Solitudo" contemporary art activity has been started. A solo contemporary art exhibition with 210 participants: I want my mirrors. Dulcinea Istanbul, Turkey 2000 co-exhibition "Veritas Omnia Vincit", Istanbul, Turkey Artist's "I want my mirrors" contemporary art activity has been started, Istanbul, Turkey 1999 "2th Interbalcanic Symposium of Visual Arts" and co-exhibition, Samotrache/Greece 1998 "...self", solo exhibition. Dulcinea, Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "The Other", Istanbul, Turkey 1996 "Citypaintings", solo exhibition. Habitat II/NGO Forum '96 art activities, Istanbul, Turkey Publication of book of poems: "Limpin Bird" (Aksak Kus) (168 page, 81 poem, 81 picture), Istanbul, Turkey 1995 Fourth Biennial of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "Young Activity/Borders and Beyong", Istanbul, Turkey 1991 Short film maker and director, ("Everything is as it is", 24', 16 mm. Included in TRT's "Young Cinematographers" programme), Istanbul, Turkey

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