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Serhat Tanyolacar

Artist Statement - 2015

As an artist, my purpose in artistic production is to use my daily life experience in satirical and ironical reconstructions within the critiques of socio-political paradigms. The reconstructed art product intends to create a visual dialogue between itself and its audience who may come to a realization of today’s social, political or environmental (global) issues. When I first came to America in 2002 the majority of my works were based on my Turkish experiences (sociopolitical and cultural experiences from 22 years of my life in Turkey). Frankly in my studio practices I never directly aimed to contextualize my works within Turkish social, political, cultural structure as I was living in Turkey.

Since 2011 I have been seeking for and experimenting poetically absurd and innovative strategies to create (more universal, provocative and humorous) dialogues between the art work and the audience even if the subject is specifically the distant other, the Orient.

I have been one of the pioneers and developers of laser engraving technique in printmaking. Since the beginning of 2013 I successfully have been using a combination printing technique which involves in relief printing, embossment, engraving, digital photo manipulation and drawing.

My major work with this new technique is a printmaking series which I titled, Sername. Sername has 20 pages (28”x42 each page) of reconstructed and heavily manipulated Ottoman miniatures, which criticize the popular culture, Western conception and imagery of the Orient and the corruption and absurdity in politics (more particularly, Neo-Ottomanism policy of The Justice and Development Party in Turkey) and all our social norms such as ambiguous morality.

From February 2nd to March 14th 2015 I enacted a series of public performances (Farewell/Elveda Performances) in various states of America as well as in metropolitan areas of The Republic of Turkey. These performances have been able to convey multiple the critiques and dialogues on Neo-Ottomanism and the stereotypical cultural identity of The Orient and Oriental in Western conception. I have planned Elveda as my farewell to my home country. After December 2015 I am not allowed to enter Turkey without having the mandatory and forced military service in Turkish Armed Forces. The Turkish Political Investigation Bureau in front of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Presidential Palace in Ankara forcefully stopped/censored Farewell public performance on March 12 2015.

I prioritize my future works as in following:

- Human rights and freedom of speech and expression (especially in Academia).

- Peace projects/site specific installations between Northern and Southern Cyprus and between Palestine and Israel.

- Criticizing corporate business hierarchy in higher education and advocating for completely free-education.

- Agricultural monopoly and modern agriculture’s impact on water sources.

- Developing multiple color prints (with powdered pigments) for laser-engraving combination printmaking technique.

- Writing a guidebook for laser-engraving, and CNC combination printmaking techniques.

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