Jakob Gautel

Jakob was born in 1965 in Karlsruhe, Germany. Lives and works in Paris.

My project for the 3rd International Çanakkale Biennial, “Heroes of
the Dardanelles,” derives its inspiration from a local hero, Seyit Çabuk,
better known as Corporal Seyit. This regular soldier with a modest
background is said to have carried bombshells weighing 275 kilograms
on his back to an artillery piece, on March 18th 1915 as the allied
forces were attacking the Dardanelles, in one of the 1st World War’s
most renowned battles. Several statues of him carrying a bombshell on
his back, with one foot on a step, now stand in Çanakkale.
I proposed to interpret these statues with people of Çanakkale
from every age group, ethnicity and life background. Participants
were photographed in Corporal Seyit’s well known pose. But each
one carried a different object, representing the “load of their life”.
The objects were related to work, social or family background, or
metaphorical, and always related to the question, “What is the burden
you carry in your life?”

Some examples of answers:

“I carry my family with this job for 35 years” (Cahit, tea seller)
“People are used to call me octopus as I am dealing with ten things at
the same time.” (Bilge, dentist)
“My burden is solitude in my quest for enlightment. » (Tolga, engineer
and musician)
“The needs are very heavy to carry but the salary is not enough to
survive.” (Halil, cartoonist)
“My conscience and my responsability toward the world. » (Aynur,
newspaper editor)
« I have so many questions about my future, they are like a huge
question mark on my shoulders.” (Helin, secondary school pupil)
The project was carried out between 22 and 27 of September 2012 and
these 14 chosen photographs give an idea of what could be a portrait
of Çanakkale and its people; an ode to their everyday bravery, making
them “heroes” of their own kind.
Some photos have been printed in large size, and all in black and white
by the local newspaper Canakkale Olay.

Many thanks to Seyhan Boztepe, Beral Madra, Deniz Erbaş and my
assistant Adem Yavuz as well as all the Biennial team for their kind
invitation and support; to Olay News¬paper for their contribution
on the printing of the journal and Nebi Altıntaş, Reyhan Hoşnut,
Muhammed Said Gürhan, Bilge Şimşek, Cahit Yontar, Tolga Atmaca,
Olcay Tümer, Tuğba Aytekin, Erdoğan Zeybek, Serpil Vesek, Özay
Sevinç, Halil Özçelik, Helin Sude Boztepe, Aynur Ganiler for their
participation, and to Hakan Kırdar as well as all the people of

In 1934-35, the French playwright Jean Giraudoux wrote the play "The Trojan War Will Not Take
Place". He imagined a story about history and how events could have had a different outcome if
the pacifist current in Troy had succeeded in convincing the beautiful Helen to go back to Sparta,
the explosive situation that led to the Trojan War would have been deflated. The witty, sensible
and intelligent play has become a great classic in world theatre. Giraudoux wrote it when he was
haunted by memories of the catastrophe of the First World War and under the menacing shadows
of rising nationalism and dictatorships in Europe and beyond, finally leading to the outbreak of the
Second World War four years after the play's 1935 premiere in Paris.

The artist Jakob Gautel, who previously participated in the 2012 Çanakkale Biennial with the
project "Heroes of the Dardanelles", imagines how the play would be perceived today, if it were
happening right here and now, presented as breaking news on television.