Metragram On An Anatolian Woman

Metragram On An Anatolian Woman, 2006

Eric Van Hove

Sinopale 1, “Thing”
curator: T. Melih Görgün

Artist talk – Sinopale – 1st Biennial of Contemporary Art of Sinop, Turkey:

Poster of the show introduction of recent works (i.e. “Abreaction” / Shanghai-2004, “A nos morts” / Senegal-2005, “Off the record” / Tokyo-2006, …) aiming at promoting the use of the “broader public space” -meaning the foreign public space- for artistic interventions revolving around ideas of apatridity and diaspora.

Some of the questions raised by the talk/works could have been, among others: Is it that the potentate of contemporary art is Western? Is there a colonialist dimension in its logos? Would it be relevant to question the capitalism inherent to its working methodologies and what would be the consequences? Following globalization, must western art redefine its discourse in order to rejoin what I call “the audiences of the borders”; If yes, how?

Participation commissioned by T. Melih Görgün, Beral Madra and Vittorio Urbani. Participation funded by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey.

– Metragram on an Anatolian woman, hamam of the ancient Sinop penitentiary, shores of the Black Sea, Turkey : “Nativity is the general time and place of a person’s birth and early years. The term has evolved a strong association, at least in Western civilization through the influences of Christianity, to the nativity of Jesus, which Christians refer to simply as The Nativity.

The term can also apply to cultural appropriation to identify the specific and general situation, as in Native land, language, political system and environment, of a person. In this sense, a person’s nativity is construed (or misconstrued) to form a basis for a general impression based on national origin or ethnicity”., excerpt from the article on Nativity. Thus this calligraphic intervention related to the Anthropometries of Yves Klein, the Logograms of Christian Dotremont and the Dactylograms of Piero Manzoni, which I have labeled a Metragram (or Matrigraphy) and that consists of inscribing on the hypogastrium (womb) of a woman with monochromic black ink — tabula rasa, pinakis agraphos. Amphigory reflecting on the paradox of writing, a Metragram tends to “write” a particular geographical and ethnological area through a symbolic inking of the origin of that world. 

Artist Talk

For the talk an introduction is here: Eric Van Hove’s artist talks should be considered story- telling objects rather than lectures. He uses a number of earlier works and interventions -some unfinished or never even shown- as the base for a display of ideas and ruminations believed to be more meaning- fully conveyed through stories. Maybe here the traveling con- temporary artist is in some way similar to the Kamishibai of Japan who, between the two world wars, was telling from the back of his bike different stories based on a number of picture cards. We can also think of the Bakhshi or Ashug of central Asia or the itinerant storytellers of Africa (Mikilist of the Congos, Griots of Mali, bards, ashiks, jyrau,…) who go from one village to the next, unfolding a story.