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Laumeier Sculpture Park Presents Ahmet Ogut: Underestimated Zones

Laumeier Sculpture Park presents Amsterdam-based artist Ahmet Öğüt in an exhibition of works from 2005-2010 in his first one-person exhibition in the Midwestern United States. The selection of works represents the range of Öğüt’s interests—from the creation, and destruction, of public space to the subtleties of the urban environment. The exhibition, open through January 9, 2011, illustratse the breadth and depth of the artist’s exploration of the collective creation of shared space. Laumeier visitors will experience the artist’s sly humor as he probes and pokes at the boundaries of social barriers and cultural norms.

Ahmet Öğüt, Somebody Else’s Car, 2005, 20 slides, two slide projectors, courtesy the artist, Amsterdam. Photo: Ahmet Öğüt

Among the exhibition that will feature still images, video and mixed media is a unique installation titled Ground Control. Laumeier’s tile gallery will be covered in asphalt that will slowly be compressed by the weight of the visitors. Originally installed in Berlin, the work referred to the public perception in Turkey that, before elections, the government “pretties up” roads in order to gain votes. When shown in a white box museum space, however, the work can suggest the power of the material with its lingering smell. At Laumeier, the work has another set of associations altogether. As a park, Laumeier functions as a public space held in trust for public enjoyment. The grounds around Laumeier are not strictly “natural”—humans have been acting on and through this landscape for over 100 years. In fact, some park visitors arrive expecting Laumeier’s wooded landscape to be fully accessible by smooth pavement. Ground Control explores the ways in which we fight to control our natural environment.

While offering a clear international perspective, much of Öğüt’s work will be resonant among American viewers given the shifting protections for individual liberties after 9 / 11. The work questions our assumptions about security, surveillance, authority and social order with a sense of humor and irony.

Ahmet Öğüt (pronounced “oot”) was born in Diyarbakir, Turkey, in 1981 and works and lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He received his BA in painting from Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey, in 2003, his MA from the Art and Design Faculty at Yildiz Teknik University in Istanbul in 2006 and studied at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, from 2007 – 2008. His work has been exhibited around the world including the Venice Biennial in 2009.

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