The premise behind HOME’s upcoming exhibition, The Scar, sounds more like the opening to a classic Hollywood action movie. It has all the key ingredients: men carrying guns, driving an expensive car, accompanied by a beautiful woman. In fact, it focuses on a real political scandal that took place near the Anatolian town of Susurluk in 1996, involving an ex-beauty queen, a Kurdish MP, a notorious gangster with extreme right-wing connections, and a former Gladio agent. All four were revealed to have been travelling together when their Mercedes crashed into the back of a slow-moving truck. Only the MP survived, and has amnesia. Police found weapons, fake passports signed by the interior minister (who was also the head of police), money and drugs with them in the car. The political conspiracy led to the unravelling of the “deep state” in Turkey, with global implications.
The Scar by international artists Noor Afshan Mirza and Brad Butler (formerly of The Museum of Non Participation), continues the pair’s interest in critical moments of change, protest and debate, specifically branching out into areas of state violence. Across three separate genres, the exhibition will speculatively imagine the conversation between the passengers in the moments before the crash, and explore the corrupt systems of power that still operate today. Told through the rather less Hollywood, female perspective of the beauty queen Yenge (whose death was written out of history); the piece will also consider ways to ‘get out’ of the car and begin a journey towards an alternative society no longer dominated by patriarchy.
The Susurluk Scandal and its exposure of the ‘Derin Devlet’ (Deep State, or ‘state within a state’) greatly shocked Turkey, which had only returned to democracy 13 years earlier. As such, The Scar seems set to provide a thought-provoking follow on from HOME’s Autumn/Winter Season of art, theatre and film: A Revolution Betrayed, and the pair’s Jarman Award nominated film piece – Deep State (2012) – which considers the spirit of revolt throughout history. A timely subject for the unsettled world of today.