Deadpan Exchange IV opens at K2, Izmir Turkey


Deadpan Exchange IV opened at the K2 Contemporary Art Center in  Izmir, Turkey, on April 10.  The show runs until May 25, 2009  and features the work of Kristin Lucas (US), Tucker Nichols (US), Jenifer K Wofford (US), Zachary Royer Scholz (US), Jon Rubin (US), Lindsey White (US), and Ali Dadgar (IR/US)

Organized by Heidi Hove (DK) and Jonn Herschend (US), with collaborative support from Borga Kanturk (TK), Ozgul Sarikuş (TK), and Gokce Suvari (TK), the work presented by the seven US based artists is the fourth part in a series of international deadpan exchanges, which began in Denmark and Berlin in the summer of 2007. In each of the shows, the artists are actively involved in a give-and-take of deadpan communication… a sort of classic comedy exchange. The work exhibited here at K2 by the seven US artists is a reaction to the work of the seven Danish Artists from the Koh-i-noor, who exhibited in San Francisco at The Lab in February of 2007 for Deadpan Exchange III.

Deadpan is a form of comic delivery in which humor is presented without a change in emotion or facial expression, usually speaking in a monotonous manner. This puts the burden of interpretation on the viewer. Is the scene comedy or tragedy?

From an art historical standpoint, the shows take their cue from the deadpan strategies employed by artists in the early 1970’s throughout much of the world: Yoko Ono, Martha Rosler, Bas Jan Ader, Vito Acconci, Gordon Matta Clark, Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica… to name a few. Their works were a formal rejection of the institutions, the world of “Modern Art,” in favor of a more democratic interaction with the work. In many cases, the work–which often boarded on the absurd or tragic–was delivered with a complete straight face, forcing the viewer to decide how they felt about the work.

The Deadpan Exchange Series is probing this ground in a global way. What happens if you start a joke in one country and respond to it in another?  Is there an international deadpan language? Is deadpan universal?  From a political standpoint, the organizers are concerned with the way the world is becoming increasingly black and white without any room for something gray and muddled.  It is important to offer work that actively challenges the viewer to interpret the work for him or herself. And the Deadpan aesthetic offers a way to both engage and challenge the viewer at the same time. The organizers are also interested in bringing a diverse group of artists together from different places throughout the world and starting a dialogue that might not take place outside of formal institutions.

At the end of Deadpan Exchange IV, seven Turkish artists will create reactions to the works of the seven US artists, and these reactions will be exhibited in another country (the location of which is still being determined).  There will be 2 more exchanges and then a final exhibition in Copenhagen with all the artists’ works in 2011.

DEADPAN EXCHANGE IV has been made possible in part by The Danish Arts Council and a contribution from Russell Schwartz.

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