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Burak Delier: Freedom has no script

26 Mar-17 May 2014

Burak Delier explores the relationship between capitalism and art, mixing seriousness and wit to critique society in a way that is relevant to his native Turkey and beyond.

About the artist

Burak Delier’s work is acutely political; a balance of seriousness and humour. He questions links between corporate culture and artistic practice, a real concern for artists in Turkey, where the current artistic boom is funded by private money from banks and large corporations, with no support for cultural activities from the state. His practice often questions his position as an artist and the difficulties associated with negotiating the politics of this situation.

The artist took inspiration for the exhibition’s title Freedom has no script, from the chaotic, anarchic spirit of recent uprisings and protest movements such as those in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, Tahrir Square, and Occupy in New York. He is interested in the relationship between the idea of freedom, spontaneity, improvisation and creativity, believing that freedom is not the outcome of a pre-determined script, but is created from incertitude, suspense, desire, and being compelled to ‘do something’.

Delier incorporates guerrilla art tactics, employing the strategies of the neoliberal media with which he disagrees. He often produces his work with others, whether through performances or by participants becoming part of his research to produce the artworks.

About the exhibition

In this, his first UK solo exhibition, he exhibits recent work and a new film commissioned by Iniva.

In Collector’s Wish, Delier questions how an artist reconciles his integrity with the vested interests of the commissioner, and whose agency, the artist or the commissioner, the resulting artwork ultimately expresses. He documented his conversations with a well-known art patron, exhibiting what he was instructed to create.

In The Deal, Delier persuades his gallery to take a bank loan and then gives the money to a trader. The trader has 20 days to try to turn a profit on the market and if he does, he can keep the money and if not Delier keeps the money – a kind of bet, which Delier documents in order to make his artwork. This work can be seen as a game of finance infiltrating art. The artist does not decipher how banks or the stock market exploit us, he makes us aware of the whole system, by reminding us of the system’s very character.

With Notes from my Mobile, we are transferred to the goings on in the minds of individuals who are playing with their smart phones, having left work. In this piece, the artist criticises himself for not living up to career expectations and gives himself advice on making better career decisions. It is the artist’s ‘selfie as an unsuccessful artist’.

In Homage to Balotelli’s Missed Trick, the artist finds a version of the moments of approval/compliment that we encounter in popular culture. The risk Balotelli chose to take is not unlike financial capitalism’s motto. Not following the well-worn path is both an escape from the fantasy of the system and a reflex from the system’s training.

Crisis and Control features real white-collar workers adopting a series of strenuous yoga positions dressed in their formal work attire, discussing their careers and the conflicts between their organisational and private lives. The resulting interviews resemble a counselling session for the neo-liberal economy.

A new commission, Songs of the Possessed, also centres on office workers, playing with notions of how people express their emotions in the workplace. The film follows groups of two or three workers, at first being frustrated or angry with each other, then being sympathetic and understanding of one another. As the camera continues to circle the group, the film allows the viewer to imagine what is being said, to become involved in a full range of emotions, and to relive their own experiences.

Delier is the first recipient from Iniva’s Commissions and Exhibitions Fund. This Fund aims to provide the next generation of artists from around the world with the opportunity to create new work, offering them creative freedom in terms of content, and supporting them to take their careers to the next level.

Join us to celebrate the opening of Burak Delier’s first solo show in the UK on 25th March 2014 from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Admission free. 


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