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All Souls Day Part I: Rodeo opens a group exhibition in Piraeus
06. Detail, Banu Cennetoğlu, Gurbet’s Diary (27.07.1995–08.10.1997), 82,661 words from Gurbet’s Diary. I Engraved My Heart into the Mountains by Gurbetelli Ersöz (translated by Murat Issi) in mirror image, 107 days, and 145 press-ready lithographic limestone slabs, length: 900 cm, weight: 1800 kg, 2016 – 2017. Installation view, All Souls Day I / Psychosavvato I, Rodeo, Piraeus, 2019. Photo: Boris Kirpotin. Courtesy Rodeo, London / Piraeus.

PIRAEUS.- For the first time in Piraeus, Rodeo presents a group exhibition, conceived in two parts. All Souls Day I brings together artists represented by the gallery, with works that deal with absent others, unregistered heroes of the face of history, some less than others. With these works Rodeo questions the understanding of the heroic, history writing and the press, the big-time history maker of today. Through this exhibition the gallery encourages readings between the lines, backstage research and silent people of the everyday that have gone unregistered or unseen, their stories yet to be written.

All Souls Day I takes as a starting point Banu Cennetoğlu’s Gurbet’s Diary, a sculpture that was first exhibited in Athens in 2017 as part of documenta 14, tucked in the gardens of the Gennadius Library for the summer, and now entering the exhibition space for the first time. The piece took its final form through what-seemed-at-the-time an endless series of negotiations and efforts to embed the content of Gurbetelli Ersöz’ (1965-1997) diary in the Greek and German press respectively. The result of these negotiations is an installation of 145 lithographic limestone slabs that contain all the 107 diary entries from the day the she got radicalized in the mountains between Turkey and Iraq. Ersöz was a chemist who became the first woman editor of Özgür Gündem (a Kurdish newspaper that was launched in 1992 and after going through various different phases it has been shut down by the current government and a digital version is not accessible in Turkey). After she was imprisoned and released in 1995, she became a fighter and her diary remains our only access to her history until she died in combat in 1997. The diary was published by Mezopotamien Verlag in Neuss, Germany in 1998 and in 2014 by Aram Yayınevi in Diyarbakır, Turkey.

The Revolutionary is a sound piece by Iman Issa that tells the traits and characteristics of a particular man. Experimenting with the effect of language and text in a similar way, Issa is working with images, each word in the description of this character is carefully chosen to depict a figure characterized as ‘revolutionary’. She uses narration in quest of what a word – term can mean. The language is withdrawn and even abstracted, each word very carefully applied.

Shadi Habib Allah’s sculpture Marat’s Bathtub is an object in contemplation. A work that refers to our modern history and the history of art, a remake of the famous painting by Jacques-Louis David of the revolutionary journalist, his murdered body being removed and replaced by the void and filled the emptiness of the iron-made object in focus.

Apostolos Georgiou’s paintings mostly tell stories of everyday heroes. People we meet, people we have encountered in our lives, in the streets, people that hold the secondary roles in films we have forgotten. In the painting Untitled, a new commission for All Souls Day, the mourned-about and dead-thought man has returned from the cliff he never fell into, the woman crying looks down towards the void, his clothes lying in the front, he tiptoes in flee behind her. A wink to the dead heroes that have ‘fallen’ and the missing bodies that history leaves unfound.

Ioustos Sigismoundos is a street sign produced as a proposal for the naming of a street in the city of Limassol in Cyprus by Christodoulos Panayiotou. It refers to Justus Siegismund, a German archaeologist and epigrapher born in Leipsig in 1851, where he studied. Sent to Cyprus in order to oversee excavations in the area of Kourios, he deciphered the name of King Eteandros from two golden bracelets that were presented to him by the US Ambassador on the island at the time. The second time he visited, he entered a tomb in Amathounta site and while he was exiting held himself from a stone that fell and hit him on the head fatally.

The first iteration of All Souls Day closes with Insider and Toxic Institution by Sidsel Meineche Hansen. Insider, a white cardboard-made figure, a double-headed creature, is another reference to the history of art; this time a lesser known one. The sculpture is a remake of Shindhu, originally made by the artist Ovartaci during her closure in the Risskov Psychiatric Clinic in Denmark where she was hospitalized from 1929 to 1985. Ovartaci, who was born Louis Marcussen and self-initiated her sex change, gave herself this name that in Danish stands for ‘specialist in madness’. She was creating sculptures that for her became life-long companions, Shindhu being one of them. Finally, Toxic Institution, five woodcuts that run from Seroquel to heroin, create a contemporary portrait via the chemical structures of the psychoactive compounds as an attempt to reflect the state of contemporary living.

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