Art Transparent Foundation in Izmir

A number of artistic actions has been carried out in the last week in Izmir, Turkey, as part of the Innominate Spaces project. On 5 February, Michał Bieniek (one of the European Capital of Culture curators, president of the ART TRANSPARENT Foundation and director and curator of the SURVIVAL Art Review) delivered a lecture on Polish art in the public space. Today, on 7 February, the vernissage of Tomasz Opania’s action ‘Right now the same wind is blowing into our hair’ will take place.

“In a processual art work carried out in Izmir within the frames of the project “Innominate Spaces” I combine three elements: actions in the public space of Izmir, presentation of documentation and a performance carried out during the opening of the exhibition.

The starting point for my action are the accesstion negotiations between Turkey and the European Union. Current data suggests that the chances of this accession are small and negotiations will continue for many years. Chances of Turkish citizens to freely settle down outside of Turkey (in the EU) are low, and the faith of those who are determined to do so is a variety of often illegal forms of migration.

My comment is a reversal of roles. I have placed myself in the situation of an immigrant in Izmir who is looking for any work. Without knowing the language, supported of the Google translator only, with no phone number, no permanent address, my first step was to try to find work in various places, for example shops, restaurants, on the construction site, at the hairdresser, in the art studio, on a market stall, in a bank. Discouraged, depressed by all the refusals I decided to use my charm and try to collect some money by allowing passers-by to photograph themselves with the “Polish artist.” As a result, I collected 4 lira. The next day I decided to introduce more dynamism in the action and to offer the audience the opportunity to “twist Polish artist” (I collected 16 lira in one hour). The effect was pleasing but unfortunately the Turkish police stopped my performance and ordered the return of the money raised.” Tomasz Opania