Ankara Queer Art Program

Betwixt and Between

18/04/2023 - 30/04/2023

Betwixt and Between

SANATORIUM Spring Call 1 

Ankara Queer Art Program 

Arda Asena, Yağız Gülseven, Erin Johnson, Dilan Onay, Alex Turgeon

Curated by Aylime Aslı Demir

SANATORIUM presents Betwixt and Between group exhibition proposed by Ankara Queer Art Program featuring works by Arda Asena, Yağız Gülseven, Erin Johnson, Dilan Onay and Alex Turgeon, curated by Aylime Aslı Demir on from 24 March to 30 April 2023. The exhibition focuses on the effort to explore the available possibilities of what exists betwixt and between, as well as queer art’s desire to add new potentials to the world. Betwixt and Between is the inaugural exhibition of Spring Call, a new SANATORIUM series supporting independent art organizations in Turkey. 

When the well-known words “Non plus ultra[1] were engraved on the Pillars of Hercules, they didn’t only impose the idea of limits on a world with nothing beyond it, but also added the provoking courage of a desire waiting in ambush without any opportunity to sin; plus ultra. [2] The call of the beyond, and perhaps of the indeterminacy, or rather the ambiguity engendered by the indeterminacy of what is called for, set free the carnivalesque images of the not-yet-discovered worlds in night-and-daydreams. It managed to throw much more of these images that are far more destructive into the middle of ‘the-already-historical worlds. What if that which already exists is far beyond what it is? What if the dualities determined in this time and space by the norm, the law or legitimacy flow not from the “the Truth of Being” but from the needs of the sovereign?

When logic, which functions in the restricted space of thought and reality, wanted to become ‘the whole world’ or turn the worlds into a single world; the first, but still seemingly plausible, form of politics made itself clear: to give determination to uncertainty or to give unity to multiplicity. When the "either/or", the constructed structure of a pseudo-rationality, is broken by the persistence of the "both/and", the movement of the in-between and between(s), which multiplexes and colors the world, reveals the positive meaning of the indeterminate against a negative uncertainty. But the enemy is stubborn too. A new map of politics and thoughts was drawn where the veil of logic was completely lifted when it was seen that the norm or law could not be grounded in a base of truth, and where staying in uncertainty (including those who were euphoric about dancing in uncertainty) was woven with feelings of uncanny and risk; 'security' was now the new abracadabra of the world.

When confronting in theory and practice, with all its might, a static and uncompleted ontology with a dynamic ontology that considers the potentialities, the queer with its focus on what is betwixt and between managed to save the indeterminacy from the cruelty of justice before. Now once again, we are in the presence of the court of “uncertainty” that has been called by being characterized by ‘guilt’ and taking root in insecurity in the time and geography in which we live. Now, “Betwixt and Between” focuses on the effort to explore the available possibilities of what exists betwixt and between, as well as queer art’s desire to add new potentials to the world. 

How can we begin to think about the catastrophes of the time, but also about our times as a catastrophe? The relationship that thought wants to establish with the future and even with the here and now is challenging, but we do not know what happened to the woods at this moment when our ties with the past, which are relatively easily established through memory, are also severed. However, the woods, which is also reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic paradise, reminds us of the unpredictability that has been at the center of humanity's relationship with the world since the very beginning. In Betwixt and Between, Yağız Gülseven welcomes visitors with a multidimensional forest with fragmented patterns.

Erin Johnson presents a video installation that combines two different subjects full of uncertainties, showing a modernist house built by collector Mary-Leigh Smart and artist Beverly Hallam together with the failed attempts to map the ocean floors. By investigating indefinability, erasure, and transparency in queer archives and scientific research, the film builds connections between lesbian, architectural, and environmental histories.

Alex Turgeon questions the construction of spaces and language structured by social norms through queer thinking. His site-specific work titled "Metropolis Musings" covers one wall of the gallery with poems printed on A4 sized paper. The concrete and diagrammatic nature of the poems, and their reinterpretation as a unique font designed by the artist, that distances them from their supposed coldness and opens them up to an expanded variation that incorporates emotional and political states.

Arda Asena, who creates works in between mediums and forms, presents the individual and collective ambiguous powers of bodies with weaving and watercolor. Informed by the fluidity of watercolor painting, my embodied practice of weaving explores 'amorphous becoming' both as an intervention into the traditional (often limited) grid structure of weaving on the loom, and as a way to open up visual and conceptual space that attends to the multiplicity of experiences that shape queer life.

Dilan Onay, whose performances draw from different disciplines, invites us to experience together the uncertainty of freedom against the uncertainty of arbitrariness. This performance addresses the collective nature of eroticism, which is considered to belong to individual sensations and associations; it situates the witnesses within this collective bond in the exhibition space. This bond is signified by fluids and motion, suggesting the constant presence of collective intimacy in our moments and actions. 

1- There is nothing beyond or there is nothing beyond; the expression plus ultra, which refers to a line drawn by Spanish sailors in the Strait of Gibraltar, when inverted as ultra, takes on the figurative meaning of taking risks, crossing borders and daring uncertainty.

2- Here is Rhodes, jump here; the Latin idiom is used to express the confrontation and encounter with the real problem when the limits of all discourses and narratives are reached.

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