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Baha Görkem Yalım

Hoogtij #67: Baha Görkem Yalım

For the time being, Moby Dick


27/11/2021 –
– 30/11

On Saturday, November 27th 1646 welcomed everybody to join and see Baha Görkem Yalım’s performance, video and sounds that, together, formed the first manifestation of the artist’s time at the 1646 residency. 

Yalım’s practice is often an encounter between poetry, fiction and academic reflection. During their time at the residency, Yalım explored Herman Melville’s seminal novel Moby Dick, and found it to be a document of exaggerated, obsessive enthusiasm or preoccupation with one thing. Thus Yalım began writing an auto-fictional novella, fusing their own memories with meticulous details from each chapter of Moby Dick. 

“When the world is ending, there is a childish urge to become one’s own arc. This Mobius strip turns on itself by memory’s formless form. There is solastalgia, emotional or existential distress caused by change -from climate catastrophe to a journey into a remote location, into a remote emotion, a remote memory- married with a strange comfort. In “for the time being, Moby Dick”, the body dissolves into its environment and contaminates everything it touches. It dissolves by an act of writing, a culmination of different forms of writing, writing in its broadest sense.”

What can an uncompromising body of work; the obsessive enthusiasm or preoccupation with one thing; an arc, mean for an artist? Yalım manages to invert the novel’s content by turning it into a piece of auto-fiction, though still maintaining its structure as a reshuffling of its syntax. With “for the time being, Moby Dick” revolving around this question, the artist draws and writes with words, images, the body and water, giving matter form to dissolve it back again.


About Baha Görkem Yalım: Baha Görkem Yalım is a Dutch/Turkish visual artist and educator. Görkem’s practice is multidisciplinary and defined by being purposefully in flux, refusing to crystallise in any one form or medium. They employ video, sculpture, and performance, sometimes in variations and always as folds of the one and same practice. In all its variations, things come together toward durational proposals and are radically allowed to appear as themselves. Their position at times also crosses to writer, mediator, and curator and includes the production of texts across poetry, fiction, and academic reflection. Görkem’s practice is deeply tied to art history, its readings, re-readings, and misreadings. Objecthood and history (with a particular interest in “the keepsake”), abstraction (as a subversive, revolutionary tool), and contamination (as a form of collaboration) are concepts frequently thematised. Görkem interrogates the concepts through the lens of labour and gender, often summoning questions of ritual, display, and refrain. These open questions come together in a desire to diminish art and artist as unified ontological categories. Görkem completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, Honours in Art and Research at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the University of Amsterdam, and Masters in Art Praxis at the Dutch Art Institute (DAI). They recently exhibited their works in A Tale of a Tub, Rotterdam (2022), Nederland Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2022), Kunstverein Amsterdam (2021), Protocinema, Istanbul (2021) and Kunstverein Stuttgart (2019). Baha Görkem Yalım lives and works in Amsterdam.


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