Halil Altındere

Escape from Hell

Halil Altındere (b. 1971 in Mardin, living in Istanbul) belongs to a generation of Turkish artists, who substantially took part in Turkey’s cultural awakening in the 1990s - as an artist, curator and publisher. His artistic practice is aimed at the socio-political reconstruction of Turkey, the promotion of a process of emancipation and the resistance against repressive and nationalistic tendencies in state and society. Exemplary for the so-called generation of '95 - that deliberately turns away from the parental generation, who shifts between abstract expressionism and socially critical realism - the critique of representation is at the heart of Altındere’s oeuvre. Altındere’s works in the media of video, sculpture, painting, photography and performance also create a stir, for they directly and openly criticize the military apparatus and the government policy as well as the patriarchal and nationalist structures in Turkey. Altındere deliberately includes the expectable objection of the state authority in his abysmal parodies. Migration, identity and gender, but also questions about the influence of Western contemporary art trends on the current art scene in Turkey characterize his work. Escape from Hell was made in the breathtaking landscapes of Cappadocia and in Istanbul and is an allegory of the increasing struggles between secular and religious forces in Turkish society. Wild chases, aspects of queer culture, captive balloon flights and a karate disciple in a mosque, who lifts off during his Koran studies in a yogi flight, are the elements of Altındere’s absurdly ironic as well as sharp-tongued work, which follows the previous work Angels of Hell, in which Atatürk experiences his rebirth.