SANATORIUM will host Mehmet Dere's solo exhibition entitled “Elective Affinities” between November 5, 2021 – December 12, 2021.
The exhibition takes its title from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's third novel Die Wahlverwandtschaften published in 1809, translated into English as Elective Affinities, and into Turkish by Sadi Irmak as Gönül Yakınlıkları. The title of the exhibition refers to a scientific term used in order to define the tendency of chemical species. Besides being a novel, Elective Affinities functions as a metaphor giving inspiration to Dere's artistic approach. While on one hand Elective Affinities negates the given reality by means of creating its own world, on the other hand it refers to a form of relationship regarding the nature of the works that transform the reality in which it negates its own meaning.
The exhibition entitled Elective Affinities emerges at the same time as a multilayered exhibition project consisting of his book and works as a monographic record in the sense of the artist's practice of reflecting upon himself. The monography written by the artist himself presents the artist's productions as a cultural capital in the sense of a value, an effort of a holistic reading as a text that reflects upon himself. Dere's monography carries a different dimension in the field of art historiography in Turkey, in terms of the artist's self-manifestation with the identity of an art historian and positioning himself as a text.
While Dere's early works focus on a political field centering around the topics of the creation / conservation of multivocality in the sense of Turkey's socio-political history / multiculturalism, identity, belonging and cultural democratization, his recent works have a poetic, lyrical, abstract line nourished from internal reality. While the metaphor Elective Affinities refers to irreconcilable contrasts which the artist tries to combine, it also indicates to the intertwinement, the nondetachable indivisibility of the problematics in his production practice. The conceptual dichotomies which the artist has established in his works dialectically exist together not as a contrast but as a kind of “elective affinity”.