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Queer Art of Sodomitical Sabotage, Queer Ethics of Surfaces: Embodying Militarism and Masculinity in Erinç Seymen’s Portrait of a Pasha (2009)

CAKIRLAR, C; (2009) Queer Art of Sodomitical Sabotage, Queer Ethics of Surfaces: Embodying Militarism and Masculinity in Erinç Seymen’s Portrait of a Pasha (2009). [Review]. Nowiswere: A Contemporary Art Magazine , 5 38 - 43. Green open access

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Abstract

In his art-work Portrait of a Pasha (2009), Turkish artist Erinç Seymen exploits the non-evidential rumour about the conversation between Turkey’s 1980 coup d’état leader, the general Kenan Evren, and the respectable Turkish music icon Zeki Müren, a singer of ambiguous sexuality, also known as ‘the Pasha of Art’ and famous for his extravagant costumes and manners on stage. So the story goes, in the late 1980s, the general asks Müren why he had been given the title pasha which has the historical reference to high-ranking Ottoman military members. Müren answers: "this nation was so angry about what you did during the military coup but they couldn’t be very open with their anger. They thus called me pasha". In Portrait of a Pasha, Seymen draws a portrait of Zeki Müren on a white wooden panel and a marksman shoots the panel from a distance by following the artist’s portraying lines. The final art-work contains only the bullet holes out of which Müren’s face appears. This article examines the aesthetic discourse of embodiment in Seymen’s art-practice by focusing on the ways in which his art-work refers to and critiques the hegemonic intersectionalities between militarism, nationalism, heteronormativity and masculinity in Turkey. Though sceptical of an unproblematically performed de-contextualization of queer theories from its western referent, my reading of Seymen's artistic performance will investigate the possible strategies of translating and transposing queer aesthetics into a practice that insists on a local political context and acts as a methodological object in its potential to reciprocate the geopolitics of critical theory.

Type: Article
Title: Queer Art of Sodomitical Sabotage, Queer Ethics of Surfaces: Embodying Militarism and Masculinity in Erinç Seymen’s Portrait of a Pasha (2009)
Location: UK
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: http://www.nowiswere.com/issue-five
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1298786
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