Thursday, 28 February 2008

Sumer Erek

Sumer Erek was born in Cyprus and graduated from St. Martins School of Art in 1985 (BA and two years post graduate in Sculpture).

Sumer Erek is a multi-disciplinary artist working in a variety of different fields such as painting, sculpture, photography, installation, video and performance.
He is best known for his large-scale installations and multi-disciplinary participatory projects, notably ‘ Footnotes - 2000’, ‘Upside Down House - 2001’, ‘The Bath - 2002’, ‘Stitch - 2002’, ‘Ash Seeds - 2004’ and ‘The Raw Earth project - 2005-2007’

'The Newspaper House' 2008. Photograph by Gillian McIver

'Newspaper House, which develops at different time scale and space, requires also different structural and conceptual analysis. Such an analysis, in turn, requires understanding the notion of ‘house’ which keeps reappearing in Erek’s works. This notion can perhaps be seen as his reaction to having lived more than half of his life away from the land of his birth. But to see the notion of ‘house’ as a nostalgic longing for the motherland would be misleading. Especially in “Upside Down House” (2001), the ‘house’ is used not just as a location but also as an existential niche, home and a metaphor for identity and belonging.' Metin Senerguc

'Upside Down House', 2001. Photograph Sumer Erek

''Upside Down House' is a completely set, detailed and literally upside down house: as you enter the space a video system captures your image and an upside down TV set on the living room shows you on the space in real time, but upside down.

The perplexity caused by this discontinuity in perception, by the collision of perceptual expectations with the impediment of understanding one's own image shown upside down, conveys in an experimental way the difficulty of building up a coherent self image that matches with the space around.' Suzana Vaz

'Upside Down House', 2001. Photograph Sumer Erek

'Stairs to blue' Raw Earth Project. Sumer Erek

'The 'Raw Earth Project' addresses both in literal and symbolical ways the idea of dwelling, and its main icon is, yet again, a house. In a derelict country house in Cyprus, Erek installed a bathing pool, crossed by a wooden bridge.

The iconographic complexity of the project, still in progress, included a series of museological procedures, such as the labeling and recording of the material that resulted from the participation of the public. Invited to stand at the centre of the house, over the pool, using it as a 'centre of the world', the participant was given a small bag of clay to hold in the hand (a 'proof of the real') while engaged on the experience of being a conductor of telluric energy, available to sense the body/mind/environment continuum.

The ideas of cleansing and rebirth, and of a site conceived for the change of the mode of being, which Erek recurrently try out on previous pieces, gain on the 'Raw Earth Project' their full archaic meaning and potency, while the introduction of museological procedures states the autonomy of a dwelling-like artwork vis-à-vis the art establishment.' Suzana Vaz

'Pool' Raw Earth Project. Sumer Erek

'In the plastic and poetic contents of his work, Erek usually explores paradoxes and oppositions in order to reach an integrative sense for the several layers of meaning. Concerning the three basic topics of the Newspaper House Project - news, paper and house - Erek explains the intent of creatively confronting the private and the public, addressing an ethics that is experimentally tried out on an exchange between the immaterial non physicality and the material physical concreteness of both information and space.' Suzana Vaz

The Newspaper House', 2008. Photograph by Tuba Altunkaya

'In the Newspaper House project, Erek takes ‘house’ a step further. He turns the ‘Newspaper House’ into both a shelter and a workshop, where he creates his art. At the same time it becomes a finished artwork and a ‘gallery’, in which spectators see the artwork. Perhaps this is why, when he speaks about this project, Erek says: “One of my main aims with this project is to share it with participants who are not artists and to embrace this process as natural as one lives his daily life.” In this context, Newspaper House is conceptually positioned somewhere between the private and the public and the real and the fictitious.' Metin Senerguc

'The Newspaper House', 2008. Photograph by Tuba Altunkaya

'While we expect a treasure to come out of the shell, we are met by a world woven by newspapers. Does he want to show us a ‘treasure of knowledge’? In archaeological excavations, we get more information from the daily, mundane objects rather than those covered with precious jewels. It may be true that the news and pictures inside those tonnes of newspapers show us all we want to know about this society. But since we cannot read them all one by one, it is not easy to understand their meaning. Can the meaning that hides between the form and the content be found in the Newspaper House?'

In this age of information, newspapers inform as much as create disinformation. As such, the newspaper is amongst the most important tools of those in power. Erek’s rolled up newspapers, in a way, point to their paradoxical character. The information that newspapers contain is still there, but impossible to read anymore as they’ve transformed into building ‘bricks’.' Metin Senerguc

'The Newspaper House', 2008. Photograph by Emra Islek


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