CUT PAPER: Kara Lale (Tulipa Negra)

Kara Lale, 2013-15

Turks like stories about beauty, drama and passion. Kara Lale is my “Turkish” story inspired by the protests at Gezi Park in Istanbul in 2013. Like The Black Tulip by Dumas, it questions the disposition of power and the people and their freedoms. Kara Lale is metaphorical. Comprising six parts, it chronicles the Turkish unrest through my experience.

(8287855332) considers the meaning of the resistance. Symbol of Ottoman Turkey and those in power, tulips are cut into tile-shaped film applied to the vellum. Frothing foam becomes protesters. Read from right to left, the viewer identifies growing resistance between the parts.

In June 2013, Galeri Park Art in Istanbul put out a call for the show Aesthetics of Resistance. I submitted (8287855332). The artwork never arrived. Instead, Turkish Customs held it for six weeks, awaiting payment of mounting import duties. What ensued during my efforts to gain its return became a Kafka-esque journey through the pseudo-powers of bureaucracy. (898287855338) recounts this experience through a journal of phone calls, emails and paperwork.

(566539172551), a second work of cut vellum, is bigger, bolder and assertive. Its imagery resembles a torrent. Film applied across the entire surface commands reflection. It brings the viewer into dialogue.

(11 Mart 2014) strikes a tumultuous climax. The death of a child injured during the initial riots sparked another wave of violent protests. The tulip icon is increasingly larger, distorted and cage-like. Its controlling grasp has become entwined with the Bulut or cloud, an Ottoman motif identified with conflict.

Snapshots of (566539172551) were taken with a phone. Like the video below, they capture the intensity of the moment.