The inspirational exhibitions; Kara Walker, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Burden of Proof, Animal Tales, William Kentridge, London, 2015-2016.
Kara Walker Exhibition
Kara Walker is an Afro-American artist who uses black and white paper silhouettes of imagined scenes exploring race, sexuality, violence and gender from slave history. Her illustrations and scenarios present the realities of the world. She drew attention to the system which is based on sexual abuse and rape with their contradictions. At this point, what makes me really uncomfortable is the fact that I was ashamed of even looking at those cut-paper pictures, but people, who were the subjects of the pictures, were the victims of such violence. I wish any individual had not experienced such tragic incidents and artists draw their world with materials inspiring more hope and love. Just the islands of utopia…
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Exhibition
On the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland written by English writer, mathematician, logician and photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (pen name: Lewis Carroll), British Museum celebrates the author and the interpretations of the story. The collection consists of re-imagined stories like Alice and Surrealism, Flopper Alice (1929), Alice Jigsaw (1930s), Panorama Alice (1932), Walt Disney’s Alice (1951), Ethereal Alice (2000), Pop-up Alice (2003), A Political Alice (2009), Modern Alice (1999), Alice with Polka Dots (2012), The Lobster Quadrille (2015) through the years and across continents. In the exhibition, visitors discover the curious history of Wonderland and transformations of Alice with original manuscript with hand-drawn drawings, woodblocks for printing, illustrations, letters, photographs, rare editions, films, clothes and fascinating objects. It is remarkable that although the real Alice, who inspired the story, had brown hair and the original illustrations were in black and white, the character Alice is represented with iconic blonde and long hair and blue eyes in all modern interpretations except the first colored version. By the way, the exhibition makes an entertaining environment for children with a card game and a computer game. It was nice to see adults exploring the fantasy world of the novel with their children.
Burden of Proof Exhibition
From the late 1800s, the use of photography became an evidence tool for the reliability of facts and crimes. At this point, Burden of Proof Exhibition in The Photographer’s Gallery examines how, when and by whom images of crime or violence are produced and how experts, researchers and historians use images as evidence in instances of crimes. For identifying mass graves, accounting for the necessary reconstruction after attacks or analyzing image/ video footage, photography records can be thought as a crucial document. However, as Diane Dufour writes in her article, what can we really learn from what we see in an image? How the image, which is always an enigma in itself and interpreted by an expert, can be considered as evidence? “We can only see what we are looking for,” wrote Alphonse Bertillon, “and we look for what is already in our minds.”
On the other hand, does not using corpse photographs in public places i.e. social media as a proof of terrorism or war make us get desensitized to death and crime? For example, most of the time social media is full of photos of killed children from Middle East and Africa without any privacy. How many such photos do we "need" more to understand that children have been killed in every moment? After all, killing hundreds of children does not become “newsworthy” and not trending(!). I believe that we are responsible to respect them and not use them as a symbol for public consumption.
PS: Since the photographs in the exhibition contain the representation of death and break taboos, it may be disturbing for some sensitive visitors.
Animal Tales Exhibition
Animal Tales, a small exhibition along with the sound recordings of tropical forests in the British Library’s Entrance Hall Gallery, asks why animal is one of the main elements in literature for adults and children. It is a great opportunity to take a journey from the earliest illustrated printed editions to modern books and look at the history of animals in stories. Also, it is really fantastic to explore writers, poets, scientists and artists telling traditional tales through the ages around the world. To capture the imagination of storytellers and the development of children’s literature reveals powerful messages for especially ones who are interested in children’s book and illustration. As it is known one of the oldest genres to make use of animals were fables. One of the examples in the exhibition is Aesop’s Fables which first appeared in 1567 and has been changed in different cultures over the centuries. Moreover, the exhibition enables children to read many today’s books full of wonderful stories and illustrations pedagogically suitable in the reading area.
William Kentridge Exhibition
The exhibition of a combination of drawings, sculptures, paintings, and installations with music and film by South African artist William Kentridge is presented in Marian Goodman Gallery, London. The works of the artist is related to humanitarian subjects which are partly influenced by the movements of refugees at the end of the Second World War. In the gallery’s entrance hall, a number of large works featuring the ink paintings and motifs of flowers and drawings with text statements, which are made on the pages of books, are filled the wall. Black and white water colours of images are very beautiful inspirations as well as 48 different slogans written on Chinese newspapers and encyclopedias. Here are some of them:
“The greater the hardship”
“Struggle for a good heart”
“Find the less good idea”
“Sharpen your philosophy”
“Listen to the echo”
There are two film installations in the gallery. On the second floor, the larger installation, which gives the exhibition its title “More Sweetly Play the Dance” featuring eight screens and speakers, offers visitors the silhouettes of people walking from one country to another with some of the wire-frame style icons accompanied by military music.
Merve Cirisoglu Cotur