With works based on experience and perception, particularly of place, time and rhythm, Cevdet Erek’s practice might be considered an investigation into the politics of space. An artist with a background in architecture as well as music, Erek has often worked site-specifically in non-art spaces as part of his natural territory. His installation series Room of Rhythms which began in 2012 for Documenta 13 in a disused department store being a key example, followed more recently by his major project ÇIN for the Pavilion of Turkey at the Venice Biennale in 2017. For his exhibition at M HKA, Erek has developed an experimental project that takes the core facets of his practice into a new material investigation.
Along with numerous site visits to Antwerp, Erek has also traced back impressions and experiments from a month’s work period in the city in 2009. At the heart of the installation is a new typographical work the artist has created, formed through translating the geometric grammar of the façades of terraced homes found in the city that resemble the letter “A”, into something we read as language. As well as inspiring the title of the exhibition – AAAAA – these façades are presented as life-size graphic paintings on the walls of the gallery. These letters resemble the comic-book style for the visualisation of sounds, as if they are coming from the city and into the museum via the window.
Erek is interested in the relations between the spaces inside and outside the museum, also looking at the presence of “street furniture” – barriers, bollards and advertisement boards – in the street just beyond the exhibition space. The project brings such functional “readymade” items into a formation within the exhibition space that mirrors literally that of the outside.
The exhibition includes two toy-like sculptural archetypes based on the classic form of a van. Made of Corten steel which oxidises over time, one van is parked outside the museum, and one inside the gallery.