Hüsamettin Koçan, a “cultural physician”
According to the French poet Paul Éluard, what we sometimes call serendipity in reality are appointments we should always recognize and honor.
The video artist Ali Kazma, a few years ago, mentioned to me the existence of Baksi Museum and their artist residencies. I started to dream: what a treat it would be to be able to spend a few weeks there, solely concentrating on writing… Sometimes, dreams come true. I wrote to Hüsamettin Koçan, the founder of the Museum, and applied for residency, submitting three projects that somehow had a link to Turkey. I then met Hüsamettin Koçan at Arter’s, in Istanbul, at the opening of Ali Kazma’s biggest ever solo show, “Time Maker”, curated by Emre Baykal. Hüsamettin Koçan looked at me, smiled, and said: “We would be happy to have you at Baksi. You may forget about your projects, just do whatever you will feel inspired about at that given time.”
Six months later, I am ready to leave for Anatolia, and by now I have ten projects I would like to complete… While organizing my journey, I realize that Hüsamettin Koçan, who is not only the founder of the Baksi Museum, but also (or better said, foremost) an artist, is having an exhibition in Bodrum, at Casa dell’Arte, a wonderful art place run by the Buyukkusoglu family. Being close to the family, I visited several times Casa Dell’Arte, to evaluate the artists in residency there. And not only is Hüsamettin Koçan exhibiting his “Shadows” at Casa dell’Arte, but the opening of his show is the very night of my arrival to Turkey. This is definitively an appointment, isn’t it, and not just serendipity… I am now making sure my flight to Erzurum makes a stop in Bodrum. Not exactly the right direction? Let’s see.
We all meet in Bodrum, Hüsamettin Koçan, the Buyukkusoglu family and myself, and even Ali Kazma and Emre Baykal. Koçan’s “Shadows” which are, according to the artist himself, “a world between existence and nothingness, without history, without identity, flitting from place to place” animate Casa dell’Arte, like ghosts from another dimension. Jacques Derrida was right, when predicting ghosts, his beloved companions, a most glorious future.
At Casa dell’Arte, Hüsamettin Koçan’s Shadows meet Robert Montgomery’s ghosts: “THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE BECOME GHOSTS INSIDE OF YOU AND LIKE THIS YOU KEEP THEM ALIVE” states Montgomery’s light piece in the yard in front of the see, while Koçan’s sculptures and paintings link modernity to tradition, mythology to abstraction, Anatolia to the world, and color to shade. If his “Shadows” are claimed by Koçan to be without identity, it might be as a necessary contrast to the artist’s own multiple identities – not to forget the essential one proposed by Nusret Polat: the artist as a “cultural physician”. May I say, being myself a classical physician: the cultural physician is likely the most important of all, in particular in this second decade of our 21rst Century. Not by serendipity, but by necessity.