10  09  2005

Biennale - Turkey

Interview to Huseyin Caglayan

Huseyin Caglayan represents Turkey at the Venice Biennale.

Huseyn Caglayan had quite a fright in Venice, for there was some technical trouble when his video was shown to the press in the Turkish Pavillion, but he managed to bring a 'clean' copy for the official screening. He even complied with his 'national duty' and introduced the actress Tilda Swinton, who plays in his video, to the minister Kursad Tuzmen. Another big name of the international artistic field showed up at the cocktail: Tracey Emin, also from Turkey-Cyprus caught the attention of the foreign press.

Your film does not show any 'orientalist' bias. Was that a choice?

I am always very cautious about the 'orientalist' approach, but I did not really have to worry about it there. I really would not like to make that approach a subject-matter of my work —this would be falling in a trap, a trap we built for ourselves. It is too strong a bias. I work on ideas which I do not envisage as a Turkish citizen living abroad. Turkey and the fact that I am Turkish have nothing to do with my work. In Turkey, there are obviously lots of problems and things to discuss, but it is preferable to do it with distance and subtlety. I am not trying to express some comments, but to create a certain perspective. Whoever comments ends up standing for one cause or attacking another. I find it useless to act as a spokesman and I think one can be a lot more productive avoiding most serious issues.

You are also a stylist. You once said stylists did not bother healing the world. Could one say that you 'try to feed the desire to think with your art'?

Yes, and this project really helps me understand the world.

(Special thanks to the Observatory on the Balkans