2nd conference: Sustainable Art Communities: Creativity and Policy in the Transnational Caribbean
Özkan Gölpinar, Postcolonial melancholia
Postcolonial melancholia This presentation focuses on displaced images, ideas, memories and artistic approaches in an era of postcolonial melancholia, with attention to two exhibitions: SPAN (curated by Chris Cozier/Thomas Meijer zum Slochteren) and Paramaribo Perspectives (Mariette Dölle/Özkan Gölpinar). I will critically reflect on them and show how history – of a personal and broader nature – often oscillates between the realms of forgetfulness and remembrance, and how as an entity it hovers between the materially tangible and something ephemeral that disappears like a phantom. Exhibitions such as SPAN and Paramaribo Perspectives were intended to realise a discursive space. In doing so they enabled every individual visitor and participant to experience and interact with new visions and contexts. To put it another way: exchanges like these did not supply ready-made cultural chunks of information but rather focused on the inherent ability of people to ask questions, questions to oneself and questions to each other. The outcome of these reflections can be a valuable tool for re-imagining not only how we in Europe engage with the Caribbean but also for raising the question: What today is Caribbean in Caribbean Art? For some viewers the works by an artist like Remy Jungerman may contain many of images deriving from an orientalist vision of Suriname in the Western imaginary. But, to me, Jungerman and other artists strive with all their might to pull themselves and the work free from that grasp. These artists can be seen as part of a collective Caribbean identity, which they belong to, but they are more than that. The object of their work is never a literal search for a Caribbean identity; rather, they are able through various means to deconstruct and complement personal memory processes and storylines, which bring both their own history to life and also seem to question it. They bring together European and Caribbean and African signs and meanings. Their familiarity with all of these cultures and the knowledge they have acquired of them is a passe-partout towards freedom in their use of content. The slaloming between Caribbean, African and European standpoints is the strength of these works. These works ask us to consider the transient and conflicting nature of human experience, in every movement, each moment we rise and fall we change. In every encounter we come together and fall apart. Biography Özkan Gölpinar (1968, Sivas Turkey) is an art critic, curator, writer and lecturer. He lives in the Netherlands and lectures at several art academies and universities. He is currently employed as affiliated researcher at the Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, where he is working on a publication that features the ways that Dutch/European Art History has been reinvigorated in the last two decades by global movement. He has authored numerous articles on art and artists. In his former position as programme manager for the Mondriaan Foundation he was responsible for 400 national and international projects in the field of Fine Arts, Artistic Film, Architecture and Design. He created the programme ‘Art Beyond Borders’ to advance meaningful artistic dialogue between the Netherlands and the rest of the world (with a special focus on the Middle East, the Caribbean and West and Southern Africa), by analysing and commenting on contemporary art practices and approaches. After his studies in journalism and post graduate film and television studies Gölpinar worked as a journalist and documentary maker for the daily newspaper, the Volkskrant, and elsewhere in the media. He has contributed to multiple books, essays, plays and film scripts. Some images, sounds or other media used in the following presentation are subject to copyright restrictions that prevent them being shown. In order to provide a complete record of the conference, these items have been blurred or silenced. Should we obtain permission to use these images, sounds and other media in the future the films will be updated.