Utilitarian efforts, non-utilitarian works

When the butterfly camouflages itself to hide from a predator, it mimics its environment to the utmost detail, including the traces of larva on a leaf. The butterfly thus goes beyond what is absolutely necessary to protect itself, blending into the surroundings to a point that the predator can’t appreciate. The “perfection” of the butterfly’s camouflage becomes luxuriously beautiful, which could be related to the aesthetics of violence, surveillance, and inactivity. The exhibition proposes that pleasures of looking, seeing, viewing and the abstraction of art, beautifying of the horrendous might have an intricate relationship.

The artists participating in the exhibition try to figure out the point where aesthetic pleasure loses its function. Could the process of camouflage, which is both vital and instinctive for the butterfly to survive, and the consequent perfect moment enjoyed by the bystander, ever have an “appropriate” relationship? As artists, when we try to blend into our surroundings or when we try to camouflage ourselves, does that mean that we are concealing the things we have been exposed to?

Departure point: Stan Brakhage, Mothlight, 1963.

Participants: Salwa Aleryani, Onur Ceritoğlu, Didem Erbaş, Borga Kantürk, Melisa King, Neslihan Koyuncu, Merve Ünsal, Dila Yumurtacı

Organized by Naz Kocadere and Merve Ünsal

Image from Stan Brakhage's film, Mothlight (1963).

MARSistanbul is an art initiative founded by artist and writer Pınar Öğrenci since 2010.

MARS is supported by SAHA as part of “Grant for the Sustainability of Independent Art Initiatives 2016–2017”.

May 18–June 03, 2017