Interview: Erman Akçay
Hello Jeremy, thanks for accepting the interview. We couldn’t reach any information about you on internet. So we wonder if you are hiding yourself on purpose ?
I wish I had something interesting to say about that but the truth is that I’m just not interesting about creating website or blog or facebook or anything like that , I know I should do that to show my work and having a good work dynamic but I don’t have time , I have my job and beside, at home, I draw . i’m always saying to myself: I will show my work when I’ll have more good drawings to show . and my drawings since 4 or 5 years are bigger and not easy to look on a computer screen , I’m trying to make a blog on tumblr these days…so no I’m not hiding on purpose .
We see that the themes in your work are always about accidents, injuries, kidnappings, violence, suicide and death. Are you so obssessed with death? Can you please open up the reasons of developping that kind of a language ?
Yes there’s violence in my work .… violence is everywhere in capitalist society ,even if big medias and tv commercial praise confort and peace, capitalism is in war since 1914 without interruption everywhere in the world.
before I made draws seriously I was involved ,some years ago ,on punk music , more precisely grindcore wish is a really violent kind of music , my band was called Öpstand and I had a label , Praxis record , we had very political lyrics on a very violent music …in a way I think I tried to do the same with my drawing even if the political thing is more abstract on my drawings.
It is bit hard for me to get into your stories. What kind of a relationship do you try to picture between the victim and the perpetrator? Can we say that there is a similarity with that and of a capitalist system and its victims?
There are stories but it is hard to know what the story is about , I try to put a lot of thing to disturb the story , sometime it works but sometime you can see what the story is about , and then I failed . I like that everybody will interpret the drawing differently , it’s kind of funny to ear people talking about a draw, they’re always thinking about a story I never thought about . You right about capitalism and its victims , the way I build my drawings is to put some daily life pictures with violent pictures coming from photo journalism about war, disaster that capitalism bring everywhere in the world , my drawings speak about that and about the mental depression on our society , working class has been destroyed, people are trying to survive individually on a such violent society without real hope of a collective change.
Working class has been destroyed, people are trying to survive individually on a such violent society without real hope of a collective change
You live in Bordeaux. What would you say about the daily life in France and the people? Some people thinks that the western world, so called the center of art and culture is now facing a crisis like a cultural blockage. Do you agree?
Daily life in france …well it’s a rich country so you have everything, I mean transport ,substructure, facililities, computer, internet everywhere etc.. life is easier here in that way if you compare with I don’t know …peru or Somalia . but it’s not easy for everybody , if you do not have a job it would be not easy , if you are an immigrant or if you are muslim it is not easy either, even if you have a job it is not easy again because there is such big pressure , a lot of salary men commit suicide on their own factory or office to say it’s enough those last years , it’s like a new phenomenom , and France has the world record of antidepressant pills consumption , hard to feel happy here. I think there are two things explaining that , first of all France is in the same time a very individualist country but also an idealist country with political and collective way of thinking and nowadays the political and idealist way is down … working class movement , class struggle are defeat these days, to say quickly: people do not protest anymore they commit suicide, and there’s nothing else to keep a collective hope , so france is depressed and individualistic, politicians tries to make people believe our problems are immigrants and islam , it’s a real shame and the country seems very closed , i don’t know how many times it will stay that way , we need a French spring !
second thing and maybe it will answer to the other question, is about the decline of france in the world , cultural influence I mean , france was an important country in the past with big artists , writers , intellectuals and now all the country in the world produce new stuffs , big stuffs . maybe france, like the rest of western Europe, having a big doubt about herself.
What do you think about the system and where do you see yourself in society as an artist?
It is capitalism and when nothing can keep people together against capitalism , it is always the same old capitalism with an upper class having everything and producing ideology to justify their domination , making war and try to control gas petrol or other wealth everywhere they can .
Saying that , it’s very hard to do something to change that , I only believe on mass movement to change the society , i was involved in Marxist movement some years ago and still believe on militant action , personnaly I choose to stop . being a militant was a good thing to do , it brings me a lot but I felt like I bring nothing to the movement and I didn’t felt good about that a the end , but who knows , maybe in the future I might continue.
As an artist… I do not know , even if there is some political side on my work it’s something totally different than making real politic or militant action , I don’t think I’m really struggling against anything with my drawings, I just feel I’m more efficient doing that, and it’s keeping me awake and living.
What is your view on the French foreign policy? Do you find France slightly anti American or not? And what about the Western powers and France which are supporting the Arab Spring or even directly being involved on it. Can they change anything?
France and united states are allied and maybe sometimes they are not exactly agree about everything but for the essential they have the same foreign policy , france was in Afghanistan with U.S.A , and later in Libya and now in Mali defending gas company or petrol company or others big company interest .
About arab spring it’s hard to say what’s going on over there , it’s very positive that people voice their opinions and know they can change a society protesting together , it’s really great . I hope western powers and france won’t do anything and just let the people making their own choices and their own changes . I’ll never trust western country powers could have any good influence anywhere.