March

New Art Space 'Alt' Launches in Istanbul

on Tuesday, 22 March 2016. Posted in ---2016---, March

Related Article: Exhibition from Turkey to feature in 1st ever London Design Biennial


Alt ('below' in Turkish) art space opened in January 2016 on the premises of the historic Bomonti Beer Factory in Istanbul's Şişli district. Established by Pozitif and the Doguş Group, the new space is launching with the first solo exhibition of Rodney Graham in Turkey and a group exhibition titled 'If you can't go through the door, go through the window' with works by Aykan Safoğlu, Hasan Özgür Top and Hera Büyüktaşçıyan. Curated by Mari Spritito, the inaugural season of Alt will focus on contemporary issues of authorship.

Alt art space presents Rodney Graham, the first solo exhibition of his seminal video and music in Turkey. Four of Graham's works, three of which comprise his trilogy: Vexation Island, 1997; How I Became a Ramblin' Man, 1999; and City Self/Country Self, 2000, as well as A Reverie Interrupted by the Police, 2003, will be on view for Alt's inaugural season dedicated to examining issues of authorship in art.

Rodney Graham, Vexation Island, 1997
Exhibition view of Rodney Graham exhibition at Alt Istanbul, Courtesy of the artist and Alt. Photo: Batu Tezyüksel

Alt art space presents 'If you can't go through the door, go through the window', an exhibition that celebrates ingenuity, and the complex ways individuals negotiate the established order in order to participate in society. Featuring works by Aykan Safoğlu, Hasan Özgür Top, and Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, If you can't go through the door, go through the window will be on view for Alt's inaugural season, which is dedicated to examining issues of authorship in art.

In the two-channel video installation Untitled (Gülşen & Hüseyin), 2015, Aykan Safoğlu traces the life story of his uncle Hüseyin, who immigrated to Germany to join the growing workforce of Turkish workers there in the early 1960s. On one screen, Safoğlu is seen directing his friend Gülşen Aktaş to pose as his uncle, in a recreation of an early photograph. Gülşen, who lives in Berlin, is prompted by the artist to participate in an exercise designed to elicit empathy for the character she is playing. The Turkish-born artist, who also lives in Germany, is looking for insight. The second screen tells of the ups and downs of Hüseyin's life as a cleaning person, in the form of scrawled statements and drawings on a bathroom wall. The intimacy of the juxtaposed storytelling modes relates to Safoğlu's own search for alternative modes of survival to meet the challenges of maintaining his identity in the face of dislocation and sexual bias.

Aykan Safoğlu, Untitled (Gülşen & Hüseyin), 2015
Aykan Safoğlu, Untitled (Gülşen & Hüseyin), 2015, Courtesy of the artist and Alt

Hasan Özgür Top's installation A Gift from the Middle East, 2013, is composed of ceramic tiles patterned in the style of Islamic chinaware, but picturing violent images of the Syrian civil war. Top has repurposed disturbing images from Youtube—in particular, of the destruction of the Great Mosque of Aleppo—in a way that is intended to bring sensitivity to the subject, and to reverse the "numbness" of oversaturation. A Gift from the Middle East is part of a larger project by the artist: his proposed restoration of the Aleppo Mosque using these memorial tiles as a gesture of rebuilding that also acknowledges wounds that may never heal.

Hasan Özgür Top, A Gift from the Middle East, 2013
Hasan Özgür Top, A Gift from the Middle East, 2013, Courtesy of the artist and Alt

In Hera Büyüktaşçıyan's sculptural intervention When things find their own cleft, 2016, red bricks spill out from a break in the white-cube exhibition space, evidencing the historical materials of the former factory building. The work is a fluid resurfacing of hidden histories—urban, social, individual, and political—resisting oppression simply in continuing to exist. It offers a metaphor for finding solutions, taking its name from the Turkish proverb "Water found its cleft," which refers to how water flows under, over, and around obstacles on its way to the sea. When things find their own cleft reminds us that we too are living through renovations, and that being present is a resourceful response to the hurdles of contemporary culture.

Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, When things find their own cleft, 2016
Hera Büyüktaşçıyan, When things find their own cleft, 2016, Courtesy of the artist and Alt

Gülsün Karamustafa at Hamburger Bahnhof

on Tuesday, 22 March 2016. Posted in ---2016---, March

Related Article: New Art Space 'Alt' Launches in Istanbul


From 10 June - 23 October 2016, Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof will house a comprehensive solo exhibition of Gülsün Karamustafa's titled 'Chronographia'. Regarded as one of Turkey's most important artists of the 20th century, Karamustafa has been included in many international group exhibitions; 'Chronographia' will be her first extensive solo exhibition in a museum setting outside of Turkey to date.

Gülsün Karamustafa (b. 1946) is regarded as one of the most important artists of the second half of the 20th century in Turkey, where her work has been a decisive influence on younger generations of Turkish artists since the 1990s. Internationally her work has been shown in numerous exhibitions.

Karamustafa's oeuvre stretches from the middle of the 1970s to the present day and encompasses various media, including painting, installation, performance art and video. In terms of content, the main emphasis of her work lies on questions of migration, politically-induced nomadism, pop culture, feminism and gender, and critical analysis of the Western view on Middle-Eastern countries. While the media-specificity and materiality of her work since the 1970s have seen an evolutionary development in art-historical terms, the same themes permeate all phases and forms of her creative output and are of unmistakable relevance to current debates. The exhibition in the Hamburger Bahnhof, including about 100 works, is designed to make these ramifications and cross-connections visible by showing the works not in chronological order, but in a thematic arrangement which brings them into dialogue with each other.

A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published by Verlag für Moderne Kunst.

Gülsün Karamustafa, Trellis of My Mind (Detail), 1998
Gülsün Karamustafa, Trellis of My Mind (Detail), 1998, Courtesy the artist and Rampa

Exhibition from Turkey at 1st London Design Biennial

on Tuesday, 22 March 2016. Posted in ---2016---, March

Related Article: Guggenheim NY acquires work by Ergin Çavuşoğlu


Held from 7-27 September 2016 under the theme ’Utopia by Design’, the inaugural London Design Biennial will be held at Somerset House and bring together installations and exhibitions from up to 40 countries. The biennial will be produced by the team who created the London Design Festival such as Sir John Sorrel (President), Dr. Christopher Turner (Director) and Ben Evans (Executive Director).

Embracing a national representation model, the London Design Biennale will bring together installations from up to 40 countries and Turkey’s contribution will be coordinated by The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV). The Foundation has formed a Selecting Committee, under the leadership of artist and communication advisor Paul McMillen, with the participation of Koleksiyon’s furniture designer and brand director Koray Malhan, and architect Zehra Uçar. The committee invited internationally renowned multidisciplinary design studio Autoban. Founded by Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar in 2003, Autoban is an Istanbul-based multi-disciplinary studio working across architecture and interiors, product and experiential design, with a portfolio that demonstrates their unique design approach on both local and international scale.

For its inaugural year, the London Design Biennale invites participating countries to explore the theme, ’Utopia by Design’. 2016 marks the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia (1516), a work of political philosophy that describes a fictional country and the ethnography of its contented inhabitants. Occupying the whole of the Somerset House site, the first ever London Design Biennale will bring together the world’s most exciting and innovative designers and will be a stage for debate, discussion and collaboration. Interrogating the history of the utopian idea and exploring the role of design in solving some of humanity’s most pressing issues, the London Design Biennale will be a laboratory of ideas that might contribute to making the world a better place.

Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar, founders of Autoban Istanbul
Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar, founders of Autoban Istanbul