Upside Down House
Multi disciplinary project - Installation  
Stoke Newington Festival, London UK – June 2001
The Lighthouse / St Enoch Square, Glasgow UK – April 2002
Bluecoat Arts Centre, Liverpool UK – May 2002

Mixed Media - timber, glass, metal, household furniture’s and building materials
Dimensions  - (400cmx500cmx500cm)

Text by SALLY O’REILLY & ALI MUSA - June 2001

The Upside Down House
We are all more than one person when defined in relationship to those around us, yet when 
language or culture render us an outsider, the powerlessness to express oneself at all is 
overwhelming. The majority holds control over definition, judging you by what you are not, 
rather than the myriad things that you may be. 

To symbolise the notion of belonging and boundaries, Erek has created his own house, or 
territory, and inverted it as a folly to difference. Inversion upsets the norm and hinders the 
most routine of procedures – inseparable from our uprightness, we find it difficult to recognise 
an upside down face. The German artist Georg Baselitz painted upside down images, rather 
than simply turning the picture round at the end, as the drips verify. His intention was to 
remove the person-person associations and assert the painting as an image. In Clissold Park, 
Erek is using inversion to the opposite effect. By turning the domestic interior upside down, he 
is appealing to our relationship to real life rather than imagery. The domestic is a prevalent 
theme in art, as it takes advantage of our sensitivity to a known environment. Any alteration 
to the familiar is instantly perceived and can often be abrasive against our will to control our 
personal circumstances. 

This intolerance to change is a much toted evil, but imagine how exhausting life would be if 
everything had to be interpreted from minute to minute, if nothing could be compared with 
past experience, if there was no 'normal'. In Kurt Vonnegut's novels, the reader is thrust from 
one moment in time to another, back and forth, to convey the complexity of experience, and 
any notion of beginning and end are irrelevant. Similarly, Erek is alluding to a lack of 
constancy, a perpetual redefining of the self. Where one identity begins and another ends he 
cannot say. 

The examination of the nature of self has a long historical significance in art. The Surrealists 
painted impossible reflections – confronted by the back of their own head – or filmed 
psychological thrillers in which people appeared to walk out of mirrors. They were exploring the 
possibilities beyond reality to test the boundaries of the self. As a Turkish Cypriot artist in 
Britain, Erek tests his boundaries daily, and by producing this installation is perhaps trying to 
retreat towards the centre of his identity and assert its position. The house in the middle of 
the park and, by dint of association, the artist himself becomes part of the local community 
through the tenacity of existence. Erek is used to passing through different communities, 
creating work and then moving on from one location to another as an artist-hobo. In building 
this house, the artist has created a temporary-permanent address, he's not passing through 
for a while. He has made a personal space in a public place, claiming a small part of the park 
as his own.