Kuşu, Vahap Avşar
3 channel video installation, HD, 60’, 2012-2016
In its season-opening exhibition, MARSistanbul will host 'Kuşu', a video installation of Vahap Avşar.
An Alevi village founded in 1610, Kuşu is the birthplace of Avşar's parents and the village that he spent his childhood summers. Four years ago the artist decided to record the lives of his two cousins who remained there.
The product of these records, a three channel video installation, traces the everyday lives of the artist's two relatives and constructs an image of the village that once had a bustling and colourful life. But, as a result of forced migrations in the 1970s, there remained only four inhabited houses in Kuşu. While the old people of the village are waiting for their final day under ruined ceilings, a couple of young people still keep their faith in the future and struggle to survive there. Ali, one of Avşar's cousins, could not get education since there is no school in the village and he refused to move to the city. Now, he is a shepherd. Barış, the other cousin, finished high school in the nearby town and returned to his village and is a beekeeper. He has dedicated his life to protecting the nature in the region and is deeply engaged in philosophy and politics. By focusing on these two contrasting characters, Avşar's video installation presents a pastoral view on contemporary rural existences.
Avşar expresses his devotion to Anatolia and his yearning for a life surrounded by nature through this video memoir on his relatives and on his family's birthplace. 'Kuşu' is an example of the artist's inclination to autobiographical experiences, to nature and to ideas of migration.
Vahap Avşar was born in 1965, Malatya. He attended Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Fine Arts from 1985 to 1989 and Bilkent University Fine Arts Department from 1989 to 1995 where he earned a master’s degree and completed the coursework for a Ph.D. Avşar settled in New York after an artist’s residency program in 1995. Avşar’s solo exhibitions include “Lost Shadows [AND Museum]”, P! (in collaboration with Protocinema), New York (2015), “Lost Shadows”, SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul (2015), “Black Album”, Rampa, Istanbul (2013), “iBerlin”, TANAS, Berlin (2012), “Noneisafe”, Charles Bank Gallery, New York (2011) and “Vahap Avşar”, Rampa, Istanbul (2010), “Come Who Ever You Are”, W139, Amsterdam (1993) and “Myths”, Galeri Zon, Ankara (1991).
MARS is supported by SAHA as part of “Grant for the Sustainability of Independent Art Initiatives 2016–2017”.