MUT­LUERKEZ | AUDI­TIONS FOR AN UNWRIT­TEN OPERA

Audi­tions for an Unwrit­ten Opera

Until 8 Octo­ber 2023
Staatliche Kun­sthalle Baden-Baden

The exper­i­men­tal exhi­bi­tion for­mat: Audi­tions for An Unwrit­ten Opera” presents the mul­ti-lay­ered work of the artist Mut­lu Çerkez (19642005) to a wider pub­lic for the first time in Ger­many.

Start­ing with a solo pre­sen­ta­tion, a con­stel­la­tion of instal­la­tions and exhibits unfolds. Select­ed works by Çerkez enter into dia­logue with con­tem­po­rary prac­tices by artists such as Juli­et Car­pen­ter, Jesse Dar­ling and Hanne Lip­pard as well as his­tor­i­cal posi­tions such as On Kawara, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Felix Gon­za­lez-Tor­res and many more.

”… I began to title each of my works with a date from the future that would fall with­in my pos­si­ble life­time. I would com­mit to repeat­ing each work in some way on that date. Each work would reap­pear at a lat­er date in my life’s work. My work would not evolve, or at least the gra­di­ent of its evo­lu­tion would be flat. It is a sys­tem in which I can con­scious­ly delude myself that all my works are mature. And if I worked with­in this sys­tem, I would indeed objec­tive­ly use my own life’s work as its own object.” Mut­lu Çerkez

Like no oth­er genre, opera reflects the coex­is­tence of life and death. An unwrit­ten opera — the tit­u­lar unwrit­ten opera — as a work of art invites us to devel­op a rad­i­cal poet­ics of con­tem­po­rary prac­tice. The exhi­bi­tion thus revis­its an artis­tic posi­tion that has repeat­ed­ly asked for a spe­cif­ic form: the unwrit­ten opera as a con­cep­tu­al work.

As part of his Unwrit­ten Opera, Mut­lu Çerkez devot­ed almost a decade between 1992 and 2000 to exer­cis­es in the form of stud­ies of prop and make-up design and exam­ined var­i­ous record cov­ers of boot­leg record­ings by the band Led Zep­pelin. Çerkez con­tin­ued the prac­tice of Unwrit­ten Opera by extend­ing its form and mate­ri­al­i­ty to a paint­ing or the Mar­shall gui­tar ampli­fi­er also used by Jim­my Page (Unti­tled: 14 July 2030, shown in 1999 as stage furniture/​props for an unwrit­ten opera”). Like­wise, he expand­ed it in terms of con­tent with Audi­tions for an Unwrit­ten Opera in 2000, an exhi­bi­tion that con­sist­ed of a video doc­u­men­tary of the exhi­bi­tion open­ing.

His major work A design for the over­ture cur­tain of an Unwrit­ten Opera, Unti­tled: 15 Jan­u­ary 2028” (1999), shown at the 6th Istan­bul Bien­ni­al (1999), serves as a key ref­er­ence for the dra­matur­gy and chore­og­ra­phy of the exhi­bi­tion at the Staatliche Kun­sthalle Baden-Baden, which devel­ops along Mut­lu Çerkez’s artis­tic pro­duc­tion. Çerkez’s works are shown along­side those of a new gen­er­a­tion of queer, crit­i­cal and rad­i­cal prac­tices that pose ques­tions about the act of rehearsal, the work in progress and the artist’s life as a biog­ra­phy of tran­si­tion. The term around” used in the exhi­bi­tion’s sub­ti­tle refers to cir­cling, gath­er­ing and stay­ing togeth­er.

Mut­lu Çerkez with Anto­nia Baehr, Juli­et Car­pen­ter, Jesse Dar­ling, Julian Dash­per, Ege­men Demir­ci, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Léuli Eshrāghi, Mar­co Fusina­to, Delia Gon­za­lez, Özlem Güny­ol & Mustafa Kunt, On Kawara, Hanne Lip­pard, Cal­lum Mor­ton, Serkan Özkaya, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Jeff Wall Pro­duc­tion, and Felix Gon­za­les Tor­res. Curat­ed by Mis­al Adnan Yıldız.




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