SAVE ME, HELP ME
The young artist sits in front of his camera surrounded by his portfolio. He takes time to describe his projects to the viewer, whom he imagines to be an art professional. Ferri’s presentation, aesthetics and unedited way of filming invoke the idea of amateurism. In eastern European academies, conceptual or socially engaged art was regarded as amateur, so the artist’s ironic distance has to do with understanding that position as something positive and, paradoxically, skillful.
AN ARTIST WHO CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH IS NO ARTIST
Jakup Ferri uses himself as the main protagonist in videos that establish an ironic distance to issues of cultural identity, history and the place of the peripheral artist. This video is an homage to Croatian conceptualist Mladen Stilinoviç, who made an embroidery in 1992 with the same ! title: An artist who speaks no English is no artist. Here, Ferri speaks in his own broken English. In doing so, he purposefully creates a hilarious situation that slowly turns critical as the irony of the title becomes clear.
In this video, the artist attempts the impossible and tries to put himself into a performance by John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The two of them call to each other in tender whispers and loud screams. Ferri sits on the floor and inserts his own name into the dialogue. Growing visibly bored because the others cannot hear him, Ferri comments on the notion that some artists arrive late at the art party, showing the absurdity of the charge.
JAKUP, COME BACK
Ferri puts his parents and sisters in front of the camera here. The original idea was for the family to thank the curator for inviting him to his first western European exhibition, but his mother could not restrain her! self.
This unexpected situation is symptomatic. While the artist is excited, his mother sees the west as something threatening. More broadly, we could understand it as a paradoxical eastern gaze upon the west – a promised land and a devouring abyss.
published in catalogue for Istanbul Biennale 9 – 2005.
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