Servet Kocyigit © ” Shake it ’til it drops ” 2007, 4’00”, Single channel HD video with Sound
180 x 270cm C-Print (dibond+plexi)
“Shake it ‘till it drops”, 2007, 4min , HD Single Channel Video
The photography series, Motherland (2007), consists of 6 photographs. The images primarily deal with the symbolism embedded in military clothing.
The largest photograph in the series, Motherland (180×270 cm) shows five soldiers from different nationalities holding a belly dancer horizontally. This is a very feminine-looking, half-naked woman surrounded by soldiers with their hands all over her. The woman, lying down as comfortably as if she is in a cradle, looking at the camera with a mysterious smile, and the men’s tense expressions reveal the sense of duty for carrying the woman present an almost comical contrast. The absurdity of the act constitutes a striking asymmetry with the socio-political background implied by the costumes. The belly dancer, as a symbol of the Middle East, being delicately carried by uniformed soldiers signifying the militarist invasion of the region by various countries in recent years visualize a triangle of identity/sexuality/power that escapes definition.
There is a traditional gender conflict, referring to the specific positioning of women in different societies. The image displays a contrast between power and fragility. As the title suggests, the army protects and/or controls a country at the same time. The soldiers are wearing different countries’ uniforms, so this image does not belong to any specific place.
The image can also be read in terms of the relationship of contrast between power and vulnerability. If one considers the title of the work (Anavatan, in Turkish), it can be read as an army, which controls the country just as much it protects ‘her’.
The series’ combination of vertical and horizontal visual elements appeals to an intricate game of power
“Shake it ‘til it drops”, is a video based on the photograph of the belly dancer held up by the military man. The subtle motion contributes to the inherent tension between the two sexes and the constructedness of the situation. After all, there is no obvious reason as to why such a setup has been produced. The perfect harmony among all the actors, though, evoke a feeling of stasis; the choreographed motion is swift and habitual; it is a part of our daily routine.
To Die For, video, 6:24, 2003
Out of Focus, video, 3:12, 2005
Pop-up (Golden cities, golden towns), video, 3:10, 2002
& Range of different photographs
Servet Kocyigit’s photographs and installations deal with notions of collectivity and displacement, often capturing or re-creating the various ways in which the form and function of commonly accepted and understood objects, situations, and ideas transition between states of fixation and flux. His photo series ‘Poetic Modifications’ (years) shows everyday-life objects subtly altered by the artist himself and arrangements of objects that appear displaced, while most of his more recent photographs consist of simple registrations of already existing – yet similar – situations. Simultaneously, Kocyigit shows an interest in the dynamic possibilities embedded within sculptural objects, as well as those situations in which living organisms temporarily freeze and become object-like, such as an ensemble of four stray dogs that get an almost sculptural quality right in front of his camera.
His videos show a similar interest in transitions between fixation and flux, focusing more on immaterial communicative phenomena, such as songs. In To Die For some of the various appropriations of the popular song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ are referred to: originally from a 1945 musical, the song was immediately taken up by British soldiers, and nowadays is the anthem of several football clubs (who also sing it when a club member dies). While the wheel of the turn table spins and the football fans express their comradery, tiny birds pop out of a hole in the artist’s chest. The video, Out of Focus consists of a collective of Georgian folk musicians that spontaneously burst into singing and jodeling in the intimate setting of a workshop. The entire scene is shot from an angle that is more obscuring then revealing. The title of the work is more than a formal reference – alluding to the often enigmatic identity Georgia seems to have in the perception of western Europe and Asia (to the extent that it is even snubbed in international weather reports broadcasted in the respective areas). In the video, Pop-Up, we see an architectural model of several solid looking skyscrapers popping up in the here-and-now through a glittering water surface, giving way to the consideration of new possibility. Pop Up metaphorically refers to the temporal, cyclic nature of our physical, as well as mental, surroundings.