MARS presents Şafak Gürboğa's exhibition: "Veritas / Truth". The artist has previously exhibited "Veritas / Truth" with Dar(alan) Art Group, one of the exhibitions in the first phase of Port İzmir 3 - International Triennial of Contemporary Art. A graduate from the department of painting, faculty of fine arts, at Dokuz Eylül University, Şafak Gürboğa focuses on themes such as identity, racism, aggression and violence, in his multidisciplinary practice across painting, drawing, photography and installation. Gürboğa has been a recipient of the residency program of the K2 initiative, producing "Veritas"Truth" for Port Izmir 3 - International Triennial of Contemporary Art. At present, he lives and works in Istanbul, where he is now bringing the exhibition.
Veritas, the title of this exhibition, was also the name of a youth group at Izmir’s Catholic Church, active between 2000 and 2009. Gurboğa became familiar with the activities of the group as he was painting in an old Greek house as a guest artist of K2. In the exhibition, the artist intervenes histories and materials, turning his attention towards both image and language so that the extraction process becomes multi-sourced: The uncovering of different layers in the palimpsest of Izmir reveal not only the remote but also the immediate past, and with it, reorient the gaze towards the future, slowing it down.
Aided by the visual archive of Andrew Simes, a former member of Veritas, Şafak Gurboğa develops different conceptual codes to approach the simultaneous distance and nearness of the stories he wishes to tell, through installations, paintings and drawings creating not a figure or symbol but an atmospheric of something that the artist himself is still in search of. Can objects of history become found and are they even objects at all, or perhaps subjective elements? The artist is still investigating. Veritas is also a singular look at the unwritten history of Turkification and its consequence; the universal element comes from restoring minor voices: Once one alternative narrative emerges back to the surface, many others follow, in an attempt to disestablish the dishonest political historicism of the nation state. The exhibition, however, does not complete an archive or re-arranges the history of Levantine Christians; it merely offers clues, after which the viewer might go on to dig more.
The experience of Veritas, the youth group, resembles Gurboğa’s own: An epic tale of migration, exile and then later repossession. While these stories are both intimate and familiar, they also belong to a larger picture of interrupted historiography in Turkey.
text by Ari Akkermans