Ergin Cavusoglu (b 1968, Bulgaria) is known for his lyrical and unsettling both mono and multi screen video installations that reframe our sense of our surroundings, and posit questions about our contemporary production of place in a globalised society marked by mobility. By capturing a rhythm of illumination and movement, using light to define space and darkness to evoke the unknown, both individually, through editing, and collectively, through the juxtaposition of screens, his works poetically restructure our sense of space, and of reality.
The prosody of Cavusoglu's work begins with his careful use of sound or citation; these attributes willfully announce the poetic meter of the artist's work. The ambient sounds of 12th century chanting echo in 'Tahtakale' (2004), a four screen installation, at once juxtaposing and colluding with the work's contemporary images of gold and silver trading in the space of an ancient Turkish souk. The eloquent fragmentary dialogue of 'Point of Departure' (2006), a six screen video installation, running over 31 minutes, enables the conceptual presentation of airports in Stansted, UK, and Trabzon, Turkey, as places and spaces of passage: "Are you travelling to Turkey?" the man asks. "No I'm going to Syria actually and then to Iraq and Turkey, and then home. How about you, going back home?" the woman responds. "No, I rarely go back nowadays. I'm going further west."
Movement enables the next register of poetry in Cavusoglu's work: as a gesture in and practicing of space, movement of images, of light and darkness, movement of people, goods - movement and its antithesis, emplacement. In 'Poised in an Infinite Ocean' (2004), this three screen video installation filmed in the Bay of Biscay and featuring a chateau, a lighthouse, and the sea itself, utilizes the metaphor of the boat as image of movement, marker of mobility, even as the buildings depicted announce their immobility. In 'Point of Departure', the inert images of airports as non-specific spaces of passage dissolve into differentiating images of place, from language to dress, and so forth. They are in England. They are in Turkey. And they are in the liminal space, in between. In this way, the artist intellectually investigates the currency of the concepts mobility and displacement as metaphors for the postmodern lived experience. Even in an era of movement, when air travel has trumped the train and even the automobile, when cell phones and internet provide for instant and always mobile transmission of identities and ideas, Cavusoglu's work insists, place persists. Claire Doherty remarks, "By reading [Cavusoglu's] landscapes of mobility and exchange (the port, the airport, the market, the station) simply as signifiers of the globalised flow of social relations, we are in danger of erasing their gendered, racial, and social differences." Doherty takes 'Tahtakale' as an example, "We could read 'Tahtakale' as the representation of a historic site specific practice which imbues the Grand Bizarre with its sense of the local. Or we could see the proliferation of mobile phones, the absence of traded objects and the Westernized clothes of the traders as indications of 'Tahtakale' as a deterritorialised zone. But of course the work is intent on the collision of both essentialised place and globalization". Of course. The work is concerned with movement, passage, and its antithesis, non-movement, place.
Ergin Cavusoglu was born in Bulgaria as part of the Turkish minority, and studied in Istanbul and in London, where he now lives and works. He has enjoyed solo exhibitions in the UK, Germany, and Turkey, including Haunch of Venison, London (2004), Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, UK (2004), Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK (2006), and John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK (2006). He represented Turkey at the Venice Biennale in 2003 and received widespread public acclaim in 2004 when he was short-listed for the Becks Futures Prize. Exhibitions include Haunch of Venison, Zürich and Kunstverein, Freiburg, Germany.
Text © Haunch of venison
Ergin Cavusoglu website
Haunch of Venison, London, Zurich, Berlin, New York
Film and video umbrella
Horsecross, Threshold artspace
Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland