"Somebody Else's Art"
11 February - 15 March 2014
Hadiye Cangökçe is a photographer specialized in reproduction photography. She has been working with museums, galleries, auctioneers and art collectors for years, capturing the “true” colors and textures of the works of art in various spaces: storage rooms of national and private museums’ collections, gallery archives, collectors’ homes, holdings, auction houses and artist studios. Going through the photographic archive of Cangökçe would be like wandering in Turkish Art History and through the artworks from museums and special collections. For her first solo exhibition, Cangökçe brings together a number of photos that reflect her testimony through a visual language peculiar to the “craft” of photography at Maçka Sanat Galerisi, one of the main actors and witnesses of Turkey’s art history.
The service provided by the professional photographer that allows the circulation of the artwork reproductions; how distant is this from the ‘art’ scene? The person that makes it possible for artworks to be originally colored, truly represented in books and magazines; what kind of technical service does she/he provide? Does the photographer find herself in a mass production state while witnessing the objectified history, the artistic production and the consumption of a geography? Can the photograph taken be classifies as ‘art’, would she become an ‘artist’ if a curated selection of these photos were photographed as artworks or would she prefer to become an artist? Otherwise, is what we call reproduction photography only a craftwork based on technical know-how and equipment in order to serve the art market? Does the reproduction prove better when the photographers look is invisible? Does the quality of the service depend on the absence of the photographer?
Cangökçe had probably also asked herself these kinds of questions and meanwhile producing new images, she continues to take photos of her assistants holding gray cards in front of each artwork. The %18 gray on the card is a standard reference value. It enables the photographer to read the ‘true’ color of the artwork independent from factors like the space or the light. The photographer takes her position in front of the artwork, the camera gets set, the lightening gets arranged and a reference photo gets shot together with the gray card. Among all the variables like the space it’s in or the lightening of it, the photograph itself or the course of the image; the only thing that remains constant and repeats itself is this gray card. The gray card photo carries the traces of the interaction between the work and the photographer, giving her/the relationship? away. The assistant and the photographer duo, during this action repeated tens of times everyday, start to relate with sometimes the figures, colors, forms of the artwork. In some of them, you can easily tell that they are in a hurry while in others, there is a humour hard to notice by outsiders at first sight. Obviously the artworks are ‘’somebody else’s’’ art in both meanings: They’ve been produced by somebody else and now they are owned by somebody else. The photographer on the other hand has an innocent affair with somebody else’s ‘love’ sparing minutes or sometimes hours to it. The abstract which becomes visible in the grey card photos, is a recording of the labor, attention and time spent to produce timeless images.
This selection of standard gray card photos put together for Hadiye Cangökçe’s first exhibition in Maçka Sanat Galerisi, can be seen as the visual memoire of a craftswoman who “does her job” within the context of museums, galleries and collections. Realized with the support of Vehbi Koç Foundation, the exhibition offers an inventory of the testimony of a photographer as yet another actor in the art field—whether it is bought and sold, held in museum storages, displayed on pedestals or on white walls, decorating homes, holdings or hotel lobbies. Rather than calling in further layers of meaning, Cangökçe simply gathers the records of the moments where the photographer’s shadow passes before somebody else’s art, both in terms of authorship and possession.