10 Minute Interview with Bora Akinciturk

Bora Akinciturk (b. 1982, Ankara, Turkey). Lives and works in London. Selected exhibitions include Ello Govna, in collaboration with Robert Hawkins, The Residence Gallery, London, UK, 2020; (applause), Pilevneli, Istanbul, Turkey, 2019;  SKEE, in collaboration with Iain Ball, narrative projects, London, UK, 2019;  A Very Small Window,  Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Riga, Latvia, 2019; VIBRANT MATURITY® 7+ ADULT SHOW, in collaboration with Ville Kallio, Futura, Prague, The Czech Republic, 2018; Egg Punk Karaoke, 427, Riga, Latvia, 2018; Keep Smiling is The Art of Living,  Alyssa Davis Gallery, New York, USA, 2017; We’re All Dead, We Just Don’t Know It Yet, Ultrastudio, Pescara, Italy, 2017; Fallen Angels, in collaboration with Noemi Merca, Komplot, Brussels, Belgium, 2017. His band Fino Blendax, in collaboration with Ahmet Öğüt at: The ICA, London; Chisenhale Gallery, London; VanAbbe Museum, Eindhoven; The 56th Venice Biennale, Creative Time Summit: The Night Art Made the Future Visible 2015. 

Akinciturk holds a BFA in Graphic Design, Yeditepe University, Istanbul, 2007; Fine Art Postgraduate studies at Middlesex University, London, 2008. 

Your body of work is inspired by the post-internet era and the glitch, can you talk a little bit about the process and your artistic interests? 

I try to make art that is representative of the era that we’re living in. I try not to be in a specific category of style or method. I’ve considered myself mostly as a painter but I am into using and working with anything that is necessary for that moment. I think I’m more interested in the impact of the image and the feeling than the voice of the era or the analysis of the concept. If you mean the current dystopian events when you say “the glitch”, I am definitely interested in that too!  I think we are at a very important and crucial point in time and the world is changing at a more accelerated pace than ever before. 

‘SKEE’ by Bora Akinciturk x Iain Ball at Narrative Projecst,
Installation view.

Exactly a year before the pandemic, you were in a duo exhibition ‘SKEE’ with artist Iain Ball curated by Cem Hamlacibasi at Narrative Project exploring the dislocated views of Generation Z. Do you think that was a show that predicted the dystopian future we are living in? 

That show was mainly about the evolutions of online culture’s/aesthetics and the dystopian world Gen Z is facing, brought into the gallery space through our filter with Iain. ‘SKEE’ probably predicts a bleak but much more free and active future compared to today’s reality. In the past, I’ve made an installation of a mutant DIY lab scene, where maybe something like a plant-based virus was being cultivated… And a couple of installations of things like quarantine spaces where the viewer could peek inside a tent or a box to see the nest of some kind of a nomadic person with a dystopian backstory. I am interested in apocalyptic concepts and habitats and the idea of spying in on that territory so even though ‘SKEE’ did not predict the future as it is today, things like outbreaks and isolation have been in the plots of some of my exhibitions. 

If you could time travel, where would you go and why?

I think I would try to go to a far future and try to see how it all plays out. I have an optimistic side that believes in a utopian transhumanist future where we’ve all evolved into teleporting super-intelligent beings so I think I would take my chances and try to go to the year 3450 or something. 

‘But First Coffee’ by Bora Akinciturk, at Ung-5, installation view.

What drives you to make art?

I don’t think I have a definite drive. Sometimes I get a specific idea and just want to execute it and sometimes I just want to make a painting or just spend some time in the studio experimenting with stuff. 

You were in a few online group exhibitions including Guts Gallery’s show ‘When Shit Hits the Fan’ during the pandemic, how did it feel being in a non-physical show? 

It feels good; participating in any cool show feels good. I would prefer physical shows, especially for showing physical objects like paintings but also I think it’s essential for smaller-scale or upcoming galleries and spaces to use these easily accessible online platforms. This show “The Pitbull’s Garden” at GMO Gallery, which also took place last summer was interesting in the way that GMO Gallery lets the viewer explore the show in the virtual exhibition space using the keyboard’s arrow keys to move around and the mouse to view which brings a relatively new and alternative kind of art-viewing experience.

Any exciting discoveries or collaborations during the multiple lockdowns?

I’ve made some smaller-scale paintings which were fun and I tried to make them so that I would be painting a little bit every day. It was good for a while but got boring after some time however it motivated me to make bigger works again. Unfortunately, my studio is not the best space in terms of size to make big paintings but I will make It work.

‘Egg Punk Karaoke’ by Bora Akinciturk at 427.

What are you working on at the moment?
I have a solo show at Plague Space in Krasnodar Russia, opening July 17th. It’s an artist-run project space and it will be the first time I’ll be doing a solo show remotely which is interesting and a little strange at the same time. I’ve been working mostly on that in the last month or so. I have a few more potential shows coming up but just recently starting to plan and think about those.