“People who live alone have amusements that begin and end within themselves.” This is an acrimonious sentence about crowded lives, Oğuz Atay makes fun of the long tables set up in large halls. He overthrows vasty, crowded meals; the pompous lives that are interrupted by laughter, surrounded by tobacco smoke, where the conversation never ends, and at the end of the night, the table, like the guests themselves, turns into a wretched still life. On the flipside, it is a highly graceful expression and makes us question loneliness again. Being lonely all alone is one thing, being lonely in a crowd is another, and being left alone or cast aside due to intolerance is something entirely different.
Resistance, Kazım Şimşek’s first solo exhibition at KAIROS, appears at a similar fork in the road. The boundaries of the action itself become blurred with the reality that surrounds it, engendering its own phenomenon: This tragedy, which determines the boundaries of wealth and poverty, turns into a universe where existence becomes tyrannically meaningless. In this universe, the desperation of not being able to overcome oneself pushes heroes to be destructive; it is the self-destruction that occurs even though the target is the environment.
Societies consist of layers. These layers reveal themselves horizontally, vertically, and leaf by leaf when going back and forth in time. On the one hand, historical memory, collective memory, and sharing the past create a pluralistic ground; on the other hand, socio-economic scales fragment and disperse this ground. It is precisely this distribution and arrangement that alienates the members of society both from themselves and from each other. Thus, each of us turns into a person who experiences her own loneliness in the crowd, who is left alone or lonely. Even though we believe we speak the same language, each of us has our own dictionary; in fact, these dictionaries are so incompatible, with such breaking points that some words have even disappeared from some dictionaries completely. Class consciousness requires this; we no longer belong to a large society but to one of the hundreds of communities that emerged under it. There are also travelers who are outside the big picture; they never know any boundaries. They knock on the door of every house, are guests at every table, and pass through strictly drawn borders as if they were invisible. Travelers do not fit into society’s demographic categories; they are observers. They don't want to belong.
Kazım Şimşek, one of the Travelers, does not hesitate to present to us the fragile moments he has chosen from the lives he enters without a care for privacy —and these lives and moments are almost always based on facts. As a storyteller, he loses his distance and often becomes the subject of the story. He even goes as far as to defeat the level of testimony he offers us and adopts a very insistent attitude that we become the story itself. While the figures in his previous solo exhibition, Morale, directly point to people we know very well in our daily lives, with a wide range of gestures on their faces, ranging from cruelty to despair, in Resistance, these people are now faded; with their backs turned to us, we are left with faces that we cannot clearly see or recognize. This decision of the painter makes visible his courage and effort to turn us - everyone who looks at the painting - into the protagonist of the story.