The Two Hands Art Store:
Gulay Alpay’s Gold Thought at Art Expo
Dates: March 25-28, 2010
Location: PIER 94 on the Hudson River, New York
This March Turkish artist Gulay Alpay will construct of her signature environmental installations, at the Art Expo show New York. The Two Hands Art Store Alpay’s most recent happening, is a collaborative effort between herself and the audience which she creates using florescent paints and a variety of other media. In such environments, Alpay recreates her studio, a free-for-all, anything-goes space where anyone and everyone can draw, paint, talk, move, and interact and make marks on any surface he or she sees fit. Curator of The Two Hands Art Store is Turkish artist Emre Erturk, who has collaborated with Alpay on previous works. Erturk will also create a performance featuring his own geometric box design. The “box” has an opening where Erturk and Alpay invite art lovers to look within. Initially the viewer is shocked and surprised by the vision of a real naked person within, however upon closer inspection the viewer realizes there is actually real condoms in the hole light with bulbs and startiling message of “use condom unless you want to produce useful kids to this planet!” Participants become a part of the visual field, interacting not only with the artist, but also with the imagery around them, effectively capturing the energy and vitality of human communication. Through her unique vision, Alpay evokes a range of theoretical positions from the phenomenological to the psychoanalytic in her surprising and exciting performative extravaganzas.
Following from the long list of previous artists engaging with relational or participatory practices, from Allan Kaprow’s happenings, to Fluxus’ performances, as well as the contemporary practices of artists associated with “relational” practices, such as Rikrit Tiravanija, Thomas Hirschorn, and Liam Gillick, Alpay carries these artists’ legacies infusing her work with her own unique voice. Such artists all have one thing in common – activating the spectator. This is exactly the track that Alpay takes up. However, much like Jacques Rancière who argues in the “Emancipated Spectator” that the spectator is already intrinsically activated by the very fact that she is an active, thinking subject, Alpay does not underestimate her audiences. She treats her viewers as equals in an endeavor aimed at producing a group artwork, for whom authorship is shared equally among all.
Much like her compatriots, the Turkish collective, Oda Projesi, Alpay honors the participant and viewer, treating him/her as an artist himself, capable of producing a valuable contribution to her creations. The creative act is social, one of healing and companionship in which people come together to construct something larger than themselves. This is a spiritual and moral act that implies the betterment of humanity. Ultimately, this is a gesture of love and companionship. From the psychoanalytic perspective, her constructed environments could be seen as what D.W. Winnicott calls the “holding transitional environment,” a space for pure freedom and play where emotional healing and transformation, psychological integration can fully occur. For Alpay, each artistic act is a creative and transformative ritualistic experience. For every gesture that she takes – from applying paint to silk, to painting her own body – are spiritual acts of rebirth, expressions of love for humanity. Challenging the boundaries of the art world, she stretches her own imagination and ours, to envision another kind of world where people interact freely and openly in love and companionship.