October 31, 2014 - Arsenal Gallery - The Oxymoron of Normality at DEPO, Istanbul
October 31, 2014

The Oxymoron of Normality at DEPO, Istanbul

Konrad Smoleński, Volume Unit, 2014. Music desktop, modulation meters.

The Oxymoron of Normality
“We are Europeans, but perhaps not in a full sense”

October 17–November 30, 2014

Organiser: Arsenal Gallery, Bialystok, Poland

Tütün Deposu Lüleci Hendek 
Caddesi No.12 Tophane 
34425 Istanbul


Participating artists (Poland): Jadwiga Sawicka, Anna Konik, Oskar Dawicki, Hubert Czerepok, Franciszek Orłowski, Konrad Smoleński, Marek Wasilewski, Piotr Wysocki
Participating artists (Turkey): Can Altay, Fatma Bucak, Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, Ali Taptık
Curator: Monika Szewczyk, Poland

The Polish-Turkish exhibition The Oxymoron of Normality is on view in DEPO (Istanbul, Turkey) from October 17 until November 30. The exhibition is organized by the Arsenal Gallery (Bialystok, Poland) in the framework of the cultural program of the 600th anniversary of the Polish-Turkish diplomatic relations in 2014. The exhibition covers the condition of countries in the area of ​Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

This exhibition is directly inspired by the work of Alexander Kiossev (Notes on Self-Colonising Cultures, B. Pejic, D. Elliot (red) After the Wall. Art and Culture in post-Communist Europe, Stockholm 1999) regarding the condition of East-Central European and the Balkan countries. The suggestion to look for the sources of their problems with self-definition and discovering their identity further than the simple lack of continuity in the democratic process, caused by the communist era, seems particularly interesting. Kiossev calls such countries “self-colonizing cultures,” emphasizing the fact that this colonization is in a way “voluntary” and happens without any external force. We cannot identify with values which we consider Universal, but we also cannot reject them in favour of our own values. We try to cope with this in various ways; either by constant comparisons and applying the “normality” measure and asking “when will it be normal in here” meaning the way it is THERE; or by repressing and rejecting the obvious notion of the marginality of Polish culture, pretending to be a part of the Universe and assuming that we have a special role in shaping the European culture, by over-emphasizing own values, unjustly forgotten culture standards and finally by looking for those guilty of “doing it to us” by falsifying the history. In any case we consistently avoid facing the fact that our culture has not become inferior because it became dependant on alien elements, but at its very core it has been constituted as dependant because of realizing its own inferiority. That would allow us to replace the “normal-pathology” opposition with “central-peripheral” and would allow us to accept our condition.
–Monika Szewczyk

The event is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland. The event is a part of the 2014 cultural programme celebrating the 600th anniversary of Polish-Turkish diplomatic relations.


Arsenal Gallery presents The Oxymoron of Normality at DEPO, Istanbul
Arsenal Gallery
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