Today, the function and the meaning of art exhibitions and performances are just based on liberating the viewers from the audio-visual captivity designed by electronic media and its upmost characteristic of making them withdrawn from real life. It would be a privilege for a viewer to interact personally with the artist and the work of art, to watch the composition with other viewers together and express his/her own impressions freely. There is a clear-cut difference between to experience the feeling -which could be pleasure, agitation, fear or exhilaration- of viewing an art project and to watch the series of compositions flowing down electronically on the screen. The first one is a process without any mediator, direct and more suitable to human nature; the second one, actually, is an electro-magnetic process which transforms the human nature to a ”melted” substance. Each human being is still free to choose between thes two and protect his natural urges.
20th century is behind us. Now, we are all insatiable to fulfill our technological desires and necessities offered to us in the 21st century and the consumerism is pretending to satisfy these needs. However, do we think that we consumed and personalized everything about the past century? For example, modern and post-modern art forms which have always evolved and diversified themseves? Except the paintings and other art works we bought and put on the walls, did we really understand the art forms which push and change the boundaries of life, which give a different meaning to every object of everyday life, including a human body? Did we internalized them? Now, by asking this question while we are viewing today’s art forms and performances, we can acquire a new vision and better understanding.
Today’s artist produces and creates from his/her own life. Life is here and present; but it comprises the past and the future. In this matter, the artist actually travels among these three time and place concepts, understands the rapport in them, tries to create new meanings from their incompatibility and harmony. With these forms, materials and processes, first he/she encounters his/her own experiences and then performs his/her own act. Only after, he/she desires to be viewed, followed, understood and commented on by others. The artist would be just satisfied when he/she is in the same time and place with the viewers, when he/she is performing directly for them. The simpliest meaning of the art form ”performance”, which actually started in the second half of the last century, is actually the process of ”now-here-together” between the artist and the spectators.
Günseli Kato started her performances, in which she incorporates different art forms such as paintings, sculptures, music, dance and acting, when she came back to Turkey, from Japan, as a transfer from one identity to another. She clearly emphasized the similarities in traditional and modern periods of these two cultures and the status of ”woman” in both cultures. In her first performance, Kato’s face, body and costumes were very important. Every change of her mimics, the colors and forms of her dresses and how she ritualized the every-day activities were characteristics of her performance. Kato, with this performance, settled her account with her past and stepped into her new life; and the most importantly, she did this in the presence of an audience she chose and shared her feelings with them.
Kato, primarily, draws attention to the visual and stylistic similarities by comparing Ottoman miniatures and Japanese paintings.