Mehmet Dere was born in 1979 in İzmir. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Painting Department at Dokuz Eylül University. He completed his MA in the same faculty and is PhD in the Faculty of Arts and Design, Painting Department at Sakarya University. The language that the artist creates in his work exists in many (sociological-psychological) layers that touch one another. The conceptual framework of Dere’s early works exists in a political area and deals with the socio-political history of Turkey, its multi-culturalism, identity and creating multi-vocality in terms of belonging and cultural democratization. In terms of form, Dere generally produces installations through which he can reach the whole from smaller parts. He uses objects, photos, charcoal patterns and object installations to create a personal archive (narrative). Also, he creates objects based on social memory and senses and works on video. In his own words, Dere likes to collect “invisible stories” while creating his works. For the artist, a whole is travelling in time composed of small episodes. He constantly feeds his work this way in their reckoning with and creating reality. Deriving from Turkey’s cultural history, the exhibition consists of a series of ironic and upfront constructions focusing on local and social memory research. While the artist builds his work with the retrieved images of the cultural memory, he poetically includes his own subjectivity to all these captivities. Issues of social injustice, resistance and politics of survival are raised not through the artist’s observation as an outsider but from close range, a perspective precisely constructed by the practices of life. This stance, at times tragicomic, and at times built upon the relationship of patience and suffering, is tackled to be presented to the audience repeatedly, uninterrupted, and almost prayer-like. Looking at Turkey’s cultural history while focused on memory, individual and social identity research, the recent work shows an abstract trend towards poetic lyricism fed by internal reality.
Dere’s non-profit art space, located in İzmir – Gürceşme, also hosts the contemporary art initiative 49A, which he founded. This studio was founded to create a space where contemporary art can exist in the rhythm of everyday life, open itself up to the world, and interact with its environment. 49A, which is the construct of a visible and sustainable tangible space, thus aims to ensure the accessibility and possibilities of production and host other people’s projects in a playfield. The artist, who has opened his first solo exhibitions in this space, is also a longtime K2 Contemporary Art Center member in İzmir and has participated in numerous group exhibitions at the center. Additionally, Dere has participated in “When Ideas Become Crime” curated by Halil Altındere at the Tütün Deposu in 2010; “Port İzmir 2, Silence Storm, International Contemporary Art Triennial”; and the “I am Here, ThecTime is Now” exhibition at Rotterdam curated by Ong Keng Sen and sponsored by the European Culture Fund in 2008. He was awarded a special prize at the “27th Contemporary Artists Exhibition” at Akbank Art Beyoğlu. In 2007, he participated in the special project realized at Santral İstanbul in the scope of the 10th İstanbul Biennial. The artist’s first comprehensive solo exhibition, titled “Quid rides? De te fabula narratur.” organized at Rampa, consists of a series of ironic and upfront constructs focusing on local and social memory research deriving from Turkey’s cultural history. Apart from his artist identity, Dere continues his academic studies as a lecturer at Istanbul Topkapı University Plato Vocational School Graphic Design Program.