Ahmet Ogut portrait - image via spikeartmagazine.com

Ahmet Ogut /   Ahmet Ögüt

Turkey 1981

Conceptual Art


Ahmet Ogut
Ahmet Ögüt
April 27, 2016

Ahmet Ogut, a conceptual artist from Turkey, works in a wide range of media including photography, video, and installation, in order to address topics such as cultural identities and political ideologies. His work is the perfect example of contemporary socially engaged art – Ogut often uses humor and loose narrative structures to offer his commentary on rather serious or pressing social and political issues. Ogut is regularly collaborating with people from outside of the art world so that he can produce more impactful pieces, able to create slight shifts in the perception of common, worldwide issues.

 Ogut - Bakunin’s Barricade, 2015 exhibition istanbul biennial 2010 2009 2014 berlin biennale exhibition istanbul biennial 2010 2009 2014 berlin biennale exhibition istanbul biennial 2010 2009 2014 berlin biennale
Ahmet Ogut – Bakunin’s Barricade, 2015

Public Spaces as the Artist’s Stage

Ahmet Ogut was born in Diyarbakir, Turkey and he graduated from the Fine Arts Faculty of Hacettepe University in 2003. Afterwards, he received his MFA from the Art and Design Faculty of Yildiz Technical University and attended the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, where he lives now. Ogut’s artistic work, which is extremely varied when it comes to the choice of medium, represents an insightful analysis of the current issues in multiple cultural and national contexts. Using his own knowledge and skills together with the objective facts, Ogut employs irony and humor in order to underline the most problematic social and political structures and strategies. Public spaces are the main stage for Ogut’s work – they contain a certain performative quality, where both common and marginalized opinions can become visible.  At the same time, public spaces became good examples of ever-increasing monitoring of any citizen’s insightful analysis of the current issues in multiple cultural and national contexts. Using his own knowledge and skills together with the objective facts, Ogut employs irony and humor in order to underline the most problematic political structures and strategies. At the same time, public spaces became quite good examples of ever-increasing monitoring of any citizen’s activity, especially since the infamous 9/11. The dystopian idea of the transparent citizen, present in the novels of Huxley and Orvel, has become a dark reality nowadays and Ogut addresses this issue in his uniquely clever pieces. He has been a very prolific artist since 2005 and created a multitude of diverse projects – he is equally famous for his installations, videos, and photographs. Two of his most recent works are called The Castle of Vooruit and Waiting for a Bus and they are both site-specific, public installations.

Public spaces are the main stage for Ogut’s work – they contain a certain performative quality

Ogut - Mutual Issues, Inventive Acts - Simit Seller, 2008 ögüt museum ögüt museum ögüt museum
Ahmet Ogut – Mutual Issues, Inventive Acts – Simit Seller, 2008

The Castle of Vooruit

This installation made in 2012 and located in the city of Ghent in Belgium, is inspired by Vooruit, a historical complex which was originally the art and entertainment center of the labor movement in Ghent until the early 70s. Ogut’s installation is making reference to Le Chateau des Pyrénées’ of the Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magritte. The artist has launched a huge helium balloon in the shape of Magritte’s levitating rock near the Vooruit Arts Centre. In place of a puzzling castle sitting on the floating rock in Magritte’s painting, Ogut put a small replica of the Vooruit building. The goal of this beautiful yet bizarre installation is to capture the utopian ideas in a dreamlike scene which turned real and tangible, thanks to Ogut.

The goal of the Castle of Vooruit is to capture the utopian social ideas

Ogut - The Castle of Vooruit, 2012
Ahmet Ogut – The Castle of Vooruit, 2012

Waiting for a Bus

Another Ogut’s site-specific installation is an interactive, rotating carousel called Waiting for a Bus. The installation was initially conceived as a playful bus shelter, inviting people to enter the carousel and enjoy the unfolding cityspace of Victoria Square, but it was relocated to Rolleston Ave, next to Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. This installation reveals Ogut’s interest in patterns of public movement in urban areas and reflect’s on the everyday occurrence of waiting and taking pauses between important activities.

Waiting for a Bus reveals Ogut’s interest in patterns of  public movement

 Ogut - Waiting for a Bus, 2012
Ahmet Ogut – Waiting for a Bus, 2011

Awakening the Critical Consciousness

Ogut’s socially engaged and often humorous, amusing work, makes us notice and question the systems of everyday life we’re usually unaware of. Through his insightful pieces, the artist is challenging the routines of everyday life as well as his role of awakening the critical consciousness of his audience. Ogut’s work has been widely appreciated and it was exhibited in more than 20 international solo exhibitions in the last couple of years.

Ahmet Ogut lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Featured image: Ahmet Ogut’s portrait – image via spikeartmagazine.com
All images © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Ahmet OgutALT Bomonti, Istanbul, TR Solo
2016Ahmet OgutGalerie Wedding, Berlin, DE Solo
201611th Gwangju BiennaleGwangju, KR Group
2016British Art Show 8Edinburgh, Norwich, UKGroup
2016Museum On/OFFCentre Pompidou, Paris, FRGroup
2016Reset Modernity! ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, DEGroup
2016Okayama Art Summit Okayama, JP Group
2016Hacking HabitatFormer prison at Utrecht Wolvenplein, NLGroup
2016Take PositionKestnergesellschaf, Hannover, DEGroup
2016Manifesta 11Zurich, CHGroup
2015Forward! Vooruit!Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NLSolo
2015Happy Together: Collaborators CollaboratingChisenhale Gallery, London, UKSolo
2015British Art Show 8Leeds Art Gallery, UKGroup
2015Political PopulismKunsthalle Wien, ATGroup
2015Don't Folow The WindWatari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, JPGroup
2015Every Inclusion is an Exclusion of Other PossibilitiesSALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul, TRGroup
2015Fairy TalesTaipei Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, TaiwanGroup
2014We Won’t LeaveParking Gallery VANSA , Johannesburg, ZASolo
2014Ljubljana Express: 10 Years of DistanceGaleri Siyah Beyaz, Ankara, TRSolo
2014Apparatuses of SubversionHorst-Janssen-Museum, Oldenburg, DESolo
2014Strategies for Radical DemocracyThe Blackwood Gallery at University of Toronto, CASolo
2014The Rebel CityADN Platform, Barcelona, ESGroup
2014Book Works: The Artist’s LibraryWhitechapel Library, London, UKGroup
2014The Day After DebtThe Broad Art Museum, Michigan and Protocinema, New York, USGroup
2014Giving Contours to ShadowsNeuer Berliner Kunstverein (NBK), Berlin, DEGroup
2014You can only think about something if you think of something elseTimes Museum, Guangzhou, CNGroup
2013Fahrenheit 451: ReprintedCheckpoint Helsinki, Helsinki, FISolo
2013When the axis of the Hamster's wheel is lodged inside Sisyphus' boulderCenter for Contemporary Art Prishtina, KVSolo
2013Performa 13The Fifth Biennial of Visual Art Performance, New York, USGroup
2013The Museum of Arte Útil Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NLGroup
2013Nouvelles Vagues - A History of InspirationPalais de Tokyo, Paris, FRGroup
2013Signs Taken in WonderAustrian Museum of Applied Arts Group
2013Future Generation Art PrizePalazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice, ITGroup
2012This exhibition’s factual accuracy may be compromised due to its practical natureKünstlerhaus Stuttgart, DESolo
2012Ahmet OgutProtocinema/Itinerant, New York, USSolo
2012Once upon a time a clock-watcher during overtime hoursDelfina Foundation, London, UKSolo
20127th Liverpool BiennialLiverpool, UKGroup
201253rd October SalonBelgrade, RSGroup
2012Future Generation Art PrizePinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, UAGroup
2012UnrestApexart, New York, USGroup
2012The Mediterranean RegionGagliano del Capo (Lecce), ITGroup
2011Or whistle spontaneouslySALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul, TRSolo
2011Modern Essays 1: Across the SlopeFondazione Giuliani, Rome, ITSolo
2011Stones to throwKunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon, PTSolo
2011Speculative Social FantasiesContemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), Adelaide, AUSolo
20114th Moscow BiennialIstanbul, TRGroup
201112th Istanbul BiennialMoscow, RUGroup
2011The Walls That Divide UsApexart, New York, US        Group
2011Commercial BreakGarage Projects, Venice, IT          Group
20112011 Asian Art BiennialTaichung, TaiwanGroup
2010Exploded City / MATRIX 231UC Berkeley Art Museum, USSolo
2010Black Diamond - Het Oog 3Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NLSolo
2010Informal IncidentsStedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (SMBA), NLSolo
2010alpha 2000 - Art Prize „Europas Zukunft“Museum of Contemporary Art (GfZK) Leipzig, DESolo
2010Speculative Social FantasiesArtspace Visual Arts Centre in Sydney, AUSolo
2010Ricochet # 4Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, DESolo
2010Underestimated ZonesLaumeier Sculpture Park, St. Louis, USSolo
2010To the Arts, CitizensNam June Paik Art Center, KRGroup
2010Trickster Makes This WorldSerralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, PTGroup
2010MANIF D'ART 5Manifestation internationale d’art de Québec, CAGroup
2010When Ideas Become CrimeDepo, Istanbul, TRGroup
2010Blind DatesPratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, USGroup
2009Mind The GapPeep-Hole, Milan, ITSolo
2009Things we countKuenstlerhaus Bremen, DESolo
200953rd Venice BiennialThe Pavilion of Turkey, Venice, ITGroup
2009Performa 09the third biennial of visual art performance, New York, USGroup
2009Warsaw in ConstructionWarsaw Museum of Modern Art, PLGroup
2009Happy Together Critical Reflection on Collective Identities, Tallinn Art Hall, EEGroup
200928th Biennial of Graphic ArtsLjubljana, SIGroup
2009Take the Money and RunBerlin, DEGroup
2008 Mutual Issues, Inventive ActsKunsthalle Basel, CHSolo
2008Across the SlopeCentre d'Art Santa Monica, Barcelona, ESSolo
20085th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary ArtMalmo Konsthall, SEGroup
2008Auto-StopIndex, Stockholm, SEGroup
2008Alphabetical OrderInsa Art Space, Seoul, KRGroup
2008Candid Stories29th Youth Salon, HDLU, Zagreb, HRGroup
2008The Salon of the RevolutionApexart, New York, USGroup
2007 Softly But FirmlyGalerija Miroslav Kraljevic, Zagreb, HRSolo
2007Stalking with Stories10th Istanbul Biennial, TRGroup
2007The Emergency BienniaCentre d'Art Santa Monica, Barcelona, ESGroup
2007Pensa, Piensa, ThinkThe Rijksaklademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, NLGroup
2007Open AteliersSmart Project Space, Amsterdam, NLGroup
2007Every Wind That BlowsMaribor Art Gallery, Maribor, SIGroup
2006Ahmet OgutPlatform Garanti CAC, Istanbul, TRSolo
2006Home and AwayILLA MANIN Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo (UDINE), ITGroup
2006EurHope 1153Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art, AMGroup
2006Art Without BordersPerformance Project, Basel, CHGroup
2006LISTE 06European Patent Office, Munich, DEGroup
2006Check-in Europe / P2PIstanbul, TRGroup
2005 Ahmet OgutThe Museum of Modern Art of Ljubljana, SISolo
20059th International Istanbul BiennialAntrepo No: 5, Istanbul, TRGroup
2005Free KickIkon Gallery, Birmingham, UKGroup
2005Posit 9BThe Artists Cinema, Frieze Art Fair, London, UKGroup
2005SCHADENFREUDEMuseum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, YU Group
2005Situated SelfGroup