Genel bir soruyla başlayalım.Fuarları nasıl değerlendirdiğinizi merak ediyorum. Sizce fuar alanları kültürel bir temsiliyet mi? Yoksa globalleşmeyle beraber kültürlerarası bir geçişkenlikmi söz konusu?
Fotoğraflara baktığım zaman görüyorum ki sizi asıl ilgilendiren fuar olgusu değil de daha çok içinde olup bitenler.. Sanat eseriyle izleyicinin karşılaşması mesela.. Bu buluşmayla ilgili neler diyebilirsiniz?
Tıpkı fuar alanlarındaki izleyiciler gibi biz de sizin fotoğraflarınıza baktığımızda izleyiciyiz. Bir anlamda objektifinizden çıkmış diğer izleyicileri dikizliyoruz. Sizce fotoğraflarınıza bakarken kendimizi onlarla ne ölçüde özdeşleştiriyoruz ?
Today, in metropolitan cities, fairs—a symbol of globalization—play a prominent role in the art industry. Fairs not only emphasize the visibility of an artwork and an artist but also transform the city into a brand. Fairs attract national and international press and art enthusiasts. This is precisely why art fairs are evaluated to have complex structures where one can run into different actors of the art market. On this stage, one can witness the actors—art collectors, gallerists and of course the increasing art demand. Therefore, these upscale fairs are proliferating. Gabriele Heidecker, an artist from Berlin, is also very interested in the phenomenon of the art fair. After more than ten years of visiting the leading fairs such as Art Basel, Miami Beach, Frieze and Fiac , she also doesn’t miss the fairs which have now started to form in Asia.
It is in this context that Pg Art Gallery is proud to present the exhibition Gabriele Heidecker's ‘Art Sphere Istanbul’ where she is also showing photographs from Contemporary Istanbul 2009–2010. She reminds us of what is left behind the show…
In Heidecker's photographs, we encounter scenes of a crowd from art fairs. Well, we can come up with this question then: What kind of experience the visitors are having or what exactly are they looking for?
When I had a chance to talk to Gabriele, who transforms the art industry into an artwork, I asked a few questions about her works and the notion of art fairs.
I would like to ask you, how do you evaluate the art fair phenomenon outside of your works ? Do you think art fairs are a form of a cultural representation or with the effects of globalisation, is it a case of inter cultural transference?
Art fairs, which seem to make art equal everywhere, are definitely a phenomenon in the art world. More or less, this phenomenon is the big show of the art world, b the more I travel, I see how much influence of foreign cultures is visible. For example, there are some tactics, which give new blood to old structure, sthat means it has a refreshing aspect. We could say art fairs are like the vacations of the global villages. That means it is a symbol of a brand? for the city, but on the other hand, I can tell that for example in Asia, people visit art fairs differently. I learned from one of the director of art fairs that what they are doing is more than the art fair but educating people to look at art.
So most probably, this interchange of what art is to be seen in different cultures and countries will create new forms of art and new behaviors.
When I look at your photographs, I notice that it is not the phenomenon of the art fair that really interests you but what happens inside.. For example, art's meeting with its viewer.. What can you tell us about this encounter?
From different booths, there are many art pieces that the viewer encounters and every viewer has a different kind of body language, and experiences in front of the artwork. Me on the other hand, I am witnessing all these intimate experiences. Also as a viewer, I realize how artworks are making reflections to other art pieces: they are reflecting themselves covering the other image, which means, something more is coming out. And for me, this method is somehow like the classical method of ‘objet trouvé’.
In your works, we are witnessing the confrontation of two different worlds: The first one is the fictional one where we track the art works made by other artists and the other one where we find the real life. What is the fictional relationship between your work of art and the work of art that appears in your photographs?
I can guarantee that you will never see the whole artwork of an artist in my photographs. It will never be depicted in total. You will track down only some part of pictures with parts of other people. That means, the art of my colleagues become part of a world of the actors in my work. It is as if you are looking at a stage. You discover your own image through the whole. These actors become symbols, which create a dialogue within and with each other. Sometimes we can notice immediately what the relationship is but sometimes it covers the meaning behind. When I am at home and I look at the pictures I start to create relations. So it becomes unconscious realization. Sometimes, a meaning is behind what I see.
Let me show you one image from my book, to tell you what was attracting me: For example, you see the work named ‘childhood’ by Kader Attia.
This is a pink slide, a simple toy for children. In the middle of two shadows of man, I saw this woman on the broken glass, so for me, it was much tougher than the only element of what the artist created. The artist created the memory of childhood and image of a happy kid, but here, behind the childhood stands a woman; shadows of these two men create a hidden, probably criminal-like atmosphere. What does that mean? Two men staring at the piece of art and behind that piece of art, stands a woman.
Do you think you are a voyeur at the art fairs?
I am not peeping at them, I just see something and say: ‘ Oh my god!’. This is the way normally I am doing my discoveries and I am shooting my photographs. You cannot go to look for it. After a while, I feel the atmosphere of these art fairs. And each of them has a special taste, gout and also a perfume. Every fair has a character, therefore I make more or less a portrait.
Looking at your work makes us feel like we are also viewers at the fair area. In a sense, we are peeping at the other viewers who appeared through your objective. How much do you think that the spectator of your work identify himself with the viewers of fair?
I don’t think about that, but, I hope, that kind of viewing makes people more aware of what art can be. Not only a decorative thing, not only showing off the power of money. If it is a really good work, there must be some new meaning behind it. It can mean a lot more for the individual.
It gives the impression that your photographs form a near art fair history... What is the meaning of inventory, documentation and records for your art practice?
This kind of portraying the art fairs is probably documentation. Recording is my work. But this is very subjective kind of documentation. We both now that the pure ‘objective you’ never exist. I make an interpretation and at the same time I am trying to find out what this event can mean. Not only as a simple event but also as a stage play, which tells you a lot: about your time which you are living in, about your culture and the habits towards art. This is why these works definitely depict the relationship of people towards pieces of art. I try to be a medium. Towards me or through me I capture something.
Your work reminds us of fragments of a puzzle. Every detail represents the whole: shoes, bags, architectural structures, tired people, workers of the fair and of course the artworks... All those details that you captured give an impression of ‘Punctum’ that Roland Barthes defines. Can this be reason why people appreciate those details?
Yes but sometimes I am leading those eyes to some little things, details, because so many aspects are open. For example, it was in Paris at Grand Palais that a sign on the sole of a woman’s shoe attracted me. Okay, we know that these shoes are from Louboutin and they are extraordinarily chic, but for me it was something else. This image at the sole of the shoe reminded me of an archaic symbol of a woman, so this was the moment! I took the photograph. For me this was the ‘punctum’. But later, I saw other aspects. It is a dialogue of a quite expressive woman and a quite expressive man and an open handbag. Do you know what an open bag means? If we remember Bunuel’s films, it would be correct to interpret an open handbag as an attracting, inviting object.