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OCT. 22 - NOV. 27, 2016

Ali Cabbar’s exhibition at DEPO reveals the “ugly” side of Turkish democracy in the wake of July’s failed coup attempt. Recreating logos and election posters of Turkish political parties that were formed since the end of the one-party system 70 years ago, the artist draws a parallel between their clumsy designs and a clumsy democracy. These images are so carelessly conceived, he argues, they fail to stimulate real democratic debate. The show, titled Ugly, is an exploration of the country’s recent past through the graphic material of existing, dissolved or banned parties, and of its enduring quest for democracy. The thought-provoking installation urges us to reflect on the past and ponder how we arrived at the current situation.

For the exhibition, Ali Cabbar painted around 50 party logos on canvas in the style of a traditional sign-maker and stenciled around 30 pastel posters on paper. Election posters from the 1950s and '60s, focusing on poor farmers or workers and promoting land reforms, illustrate just how much Turkey has changed. But by using old techniques, Cabbar emphasizes that though Turkey has indeed changed, some things have not evolved. Due to a lack of available visual documentation even for the parties established more recently, the show’s preparation process was a challenge and at the same time a testament to the non-existence of the nation’s collective memory.

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