Sezgin Boynik

The Art of Slogans

Sezgin Boynik further pursued his recent work that deals with the use of slogans in contemporary (conceptual) art. The starting point was the assumption that “lingustic postulates” are constitutive elements in most conceptual art theory and practice. In order to get to these postulates in a more practical way, Boynik set out a proposition that may enable us to deal with language pragmatically. This means dealing with the “performative” aspects of language in order to arrive at the “constative” aspects of conceptual art. For this purpose, the most adequate way to realize this was to look at the relation between art and slogans: both slogans of art discourse and political slogans that art deals with. Boynik claims that “slogans embody the most elementary difficulties in the political use of language: they show the contradictions between ‘performative’ and ‘constative’ aspects; they are a product of collective transformations, and most of the social changes are inscribed into slogans (‘slogans have their own history’); they are formal and synthetic productions that allow for systematization of artistic creativity; and what is most important they impose a truth which does not exclude intellectual (theoretical or constative) abstraction.” During his fellowship at Büchsenhausen, Boynik has pursued his work on the art of slogans in three different fields:

– In the field of theory by researching more concisely the linguistic approaches dealing with art, especially focusing on the works of Russian Formalists from the 1920s and 1930s.
– In the field of history to understand the conditions of Art & Language’s indexing practices and their distinction from other conceptual artistic practices which use language as their material.
– In the field of practice to find ways for applying this theoretical and historical work on slogans to more specified social or political issues connected with art from Yugoslavia.

Sezgin Boynik is a sociologist and writer currently based in Helsinki. He studied sociology at the Mimar Sinan University of Istanbul (degree in 2003 with a thesis on Situationist International) and at the University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Helsinki (PhD degree in 2014). As an author and editor of journals for art and cultural studies, he has written on such topics as the subversive resistance movements in Yugoslavia in the 1960s and 1970s, radical political ideas, and the political art collective “Neue Slowenische Kunst.” He co-authored Counter-constructivist Model (La Fontaine Stories for Immigrants) paper-film in nine acts (2012, together with Minna Henriksson), and co-edited the critical reader Contemporary Art and Nationalism with Minna Henriksson (2007), and History of Punk and Underground Resources in Turkey 1978–1999 with Tolga Güldalli (both in 2007).