Can Altay – A Skein of Waterfowl

Can Altay – A Skein of Waterfowl

Can Altay – A Skein of Waterfowl 150 150 Öktem Aykut

Can Altay
A Skein of Waterfowl

October 10 – November 11, 2023

Öktem Aykut is pleased to announce A Skein of Waterfowl by Can Altay.
The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, October 10th between 18.30 – 20:00.

In Altay’s recent works, we see the ways in which a fictional community relates to water and other things that appear in the sky, such as rain and birds. We observe this community’s clumsy attempts that lead to an accidental mastery over ceremonial objects and alternative technologies, as chronicled through the drawings and materialized in the sculptures.  The words of the artist, “The feeling that we can’t change the world we live in right at this moment, should not prevent us from imagining another one”, frame this new body of work. The exhibition examines existential issues like continuous cycles and fluctuations, as much as our relationship with water and other planetary resources. Drawing has been essential for Altay’s practice, despite being rarely exhibited in the past. His drawings venture towards a narrative and speculative direction, beyond their representative purpose. The accumulation, distribution and consumption of a most vital need such as water, and a consequent assertion of power through its monopolization, opens up debate around how we relate to our planet and its diminishing resources. Constructing his new drawings, Altay uses daily newspaper surfaces, this time as a background, first by covering them and then scraping over them with the sgraffito technique; thereby merging the everyday politics with his anachronistic speculations. This is a quality that can also be observed in the sculptures and installations in the exhibition. Everyday objects and familiar forms such as the fountain, the mirror and the funnel, become estranged through Altay’s interventions and take on new meanings as sculptures. The mischievous and enigmatic exploration in Altay’s pictorial narrative is also observed in his formal decisions. The playful narratives in these different fields of expression present a whimsical and poetic criticality that defines Altay’s practice. This delicate balance can also be associated with the sculpture tradition in Turkey: being simultaneously existential and metaphysical in its interpretation of life; abstract and kinetic in its formal language; and humorous and critical in artistic expression.

Can Altay has been addressing cohabitation through his investigations and propositions on the politics of everyday life, public space, urban ecologies, objects of use, and artistic action for over two decades. Incorporating narrative devices and spatial instruments, he produces “settings” that open themselves to common use and act as sites of collective production. His investigations appear, at times as complex document based installations, and as sculptural and image-based work that result from a process of distillation and abstraction. His public projects include: open recording studio spaces MÇPS (Istanbul, 2017); “Loughborough Records Present Presence” (Loughborough, 2016); usable sculptures and networked objects “Inner Space Station” (New York, 2013); “Distributed” (London, 2012); and critical emancipatory propositions on existing formats as in “The Church Street Partners’ Gazette” (London, 2010-13) and “PARK: bir ihtimal” (Istanbul, 2010).