Tremor, Rumour, Hoover

Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin


Installation, 270 x 445 cm .
Materials: sequins mounted on plastic plates

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp / Collection Flemish Community (Inv. no. BK007923).

At first sight, Tremor, Rumour, Hoover is just a rhyming wordplay, but a closer look reveals its complexity, which mediates a feeling of anxiety. The work is more reminiscent of a quick, nervous laugh, than the genuine release brought about by humour. Its letters’ garish, clashing colours tease the viewers’ perception, whereas large, shimmering sequins, that are supposed to move in the wind, undermine any feeling of stability. It feels as if the festive material, normally used for commercial signs or billboards, should be alluring, but it is not. 

Alptekin created this artwork two years after the large Izmit earthquake on 17 August 1999 in Istanbul, which caused tremendous damage. This work could be seen as an attempt to cope with the anxiety and fear that accompany the anticipation of future, possible natural disasters. 

Sometimes, the situations one is confronted with in one’s immediate environment are so unbearable that they become ridiculous. Then the only way to adapt one’s mentality and deal with this condition is to turn to humour. In a permanent state of danger, constant air raid sirens and incoming rocket fire, ironic jokes become one of the ways to maintain any mental stability.

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