Place:
while at St Martins • Installation in the Hall
Date:
winter 1970
Place:
while at RCA • Holland Park, London
Date:
spring 1972

My work stays within the boundary of my life’s commitment to what I observe or the events which surround me. No one can sit still and watch what is going to hit them neither act as a watch man stuck in watch tower. We have to get out and take action into our own hands. That makes us what we are… or not. The space in which we work is open to the world. With all windows open we are informed by a range of ever changing communication technologies that influence our observations, ideas and attitudes. This gathering process forces our ideas into forms and actions that communicate in multi directions regardless of who, what, where and whenever this might be. Personally, I found myself at the edge of chaotic transitions which are expanding at a speed that I can recognise what the world is about. One thing I recognised at an early stage in my career was the freedom of feeling positive. I implement this sense through any technique, material, form, or in any environment - either face to face or remotely with individuals, with a few at a time or within groups, whenever or wherever that might be. This locates all of us, willingly or unwillingly, into a spot that triggers action. This is why I make practical and effective use of multi-content, multi-medium, multi-form, multi-environment and multi-timeline. This is how I’ve become what I am.

Most of my work is environmental and based on social issues… ‘Half a Clean Window’ the abstract appearance of a window pane, ‘7/24’ BBC Radio Four broadcast from a ball of sisal, ‘Water Trough’ drought and pollution, ‘Air' a One Day Event performance with four oxygen / nitrogen cylinders (St Martins 1969/1970). ‘One Day Line, One Day Square, One Day Cube’, ‘30 Days Weather Report’, ‘Brick Wall Leaning Against the Wall’ (RCA 1970/1973). ‘Congratulations Da Vinci’, ‘Shooting the Books’, military force, law and punishment, ‘Transportation of Offerings’ land ownership and accountability, ‘Occupation’, ‘Awaiting Black Mail’ military coups and hangings, ‘Biting the Knife’, ‘Under Democracy’ the failure of democracy and freedom under a coup. (Turkey and Europe 1973 onwards).

Probably the surrounding social attitudes led me into an educational comfort zone where academic structures were thrown out of the window after WW2. Common sense and action with positive intentions replaced the old command structures of a leadership who had no time to listen. Universities behaved like old fashioned academies aiming to achieve prescribed results. In Turkey my art education was part of a renewed secular curve that encouraged participation, broad freedoms and departure from academic approaches. Art had no professional title, outside of education. I came to England to further my studies in sculpture with the intention to return back to Turkey with a contemporary approach to art and society as a whole. As a ‘mature student’, I found myself, without inhibition, one year in St Martins School of Art’s Advanced Studies Course (run by Frank Martin - Barry Flanagan) and then three years at the RCA for a ‘necessary’ MA degree as specified by the Turkish Government’s grant requirements. Life goes on, time never stops, don’t imitate but follow those intentions which are positive and goodwilled. This attitude is always with me, in whatever I make or in the length of time and resources I have. Not to be destructive but always to be an interventionist. I always think that good teaching and education never leads society but acts more as a companion. That’s why I was part of ‘AND Journal of Art & Art Education’ - (1984-1993) (founded by Jenni Boswell-Jones, Roderick Coyne and myself), and more recently developed AND EventSpace1. I continue to be a socialist / art activist, mainly in notable campaigns such as ‘Free entry to museums and galleries’, ‘Droit de suite (resale rights)‘ legislation, copyright and the unionisation of artists.

Contact

tel:
020 7481 9053
email:
ismail@artzone.org.uk
website:
address:
10 Back Church Lane
London
E1 1LX