Friday, 16 October 2015

Mustafa Hulusi’s Flyposting exhibition

Mustafa Hulusi's posters depicting the barks of Cypriot olive trees, randomly flyposted across London

Conceptual artist Mustafa Hulusi has long been fêted in art circles. On a par with his better known Turkish Cypriot peers Tracey Emin and Hussein Chalayan, his art certainly deserves much wider recognition.

Hulusi's trippy Expander posters.
Photo: Terri Pearson
Born in London in 1971 and a graduate of Goldsmiths College and the Royal College of Art, Hulusi produces evocative paintings, videos, installations, and photographs. His work is featured in a number of collections including the Tate, the Zabludowicz Collection, UBS, the British Council, and the Saatchi Collection.

Among his recent solo exhibitions are Propagating Ambient at the Page Gallery in Seoul, and The Golden Age at the Max Wigram Gallery in London

In 2005 he took part in Leaps of Faith, an international art exhibition staged in Cyprus’ Buffer Zone and across the divided city of Lefkoşa. Two years later, Hulusi, together with Haris Epaminonda, represented Cyprus at the Venice Biennale.

Hulusi’s art regularly draws on his Cypriot and Turkish roots, as well as pop culture, advertising, and Western historical and contemporary living. Each presents its own distinctive visual language, which he uses to explore popular perceptions.
Photo: Terri Pearson

Curated by Sotiris Kyriacou, this new month-long Flyposting exhibition at the Cass Bank Gallery brings together a selection of Hulusi’s works from 1998 through to the present day.

Mimicking the world of advertising, Hulusi uses flyposting – both legal and illegal forms of outdoor promotion – to display his art in the form of inkjet and litho-printed posters, some as large as 48-sheets, across London. They include repetitive geometric patterns from his trippy Expander series, which were on a billboard around the corner from Aziziye Mosque in Stoke Newington. He also uses different typefaces to write Mustafa Hulusi in big and bold letters, which were initially displayed above derelict inner city shops and among concert posters in Soho, playing on our fascination with all things celebrity: anyone whose name is displayed like this must be worthy of our attention.

Gallery walls have replaced the streets of London, offering a smoother setting to the paste-smeared and slightly tatty outdoor posters. They are, nevertheless, equally captivating: a huge decaying pomegranate greets you as you walk into the gallery, the fruit’s perishable nature reflecting the equally vulnerable qualities of the outdoor advertising from which they were borne.

Turkish military sign-turned-poster on an inner London wall
Posters bearing Hulusi’s name adorn one wall, while another displays a delicate kitsch-like white rose. Around the corner you find close-ups of the aged bark of a Cypriot olive tree. This eclectic mix, where pop art meets high art, is both familiar and abstract.

In a small dark room, there is a slide show documenting these and many more images of Hulusi’s flyposters as they were first displayed on London’s streets. They include one of a military sign about a ‘Forbidden Zone’ – a common sight for anyone visiting North Cyprus.

Sponsored by Jack Arts, the Flyposting exhibition is free and runs until the end of this month.

Exhibition: Flyposting
Runs until: Friday 30 October 2015
Venue: The Cass Bank Gallery (part of the London Metropolitan University building), 59-63 Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7PF (nearest tube Aldgate East, exit 4)
Opening times: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 - 6pm
Entrance: Free
More info: 
About Mustafa Hulusi  
Mustafa Hulusi's Pomegranate opens his Flyposting exhibition

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