Artists from Turkey at Transmediale’s 30th Edition

on Thursday, 19 January 2017. Posted in January, ---2017---

Related Article: Anna Laudel Contemporary in Karaköy


New media art theorist Ebru Yetişkin and artist Bager Akbay will be speaking at a panel at transmediale festival’s 30th edition in a session on Alternative Futurism: Middle-East Imaginaries, together with Ayhan Ayteş, Morehsin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke on 8 February 2017 at Langenbeck-Virchow-Haus in Berlin. Works by Turkish new media artist Pınar Yoldaş will be on view at the transmediale exhibition Alien Matter at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, which was curated by Inke Arns on view from 3 February until 5 March 2017.

Meric Öner new director at SALT
Artificial Intelligence for Governance, The Kitty AI, 2016

Istanbul Galleries at Art Dubai and Art Basel Hong Kong

on Thursday, 23 March 2017. Posted in March, ---2017---

Related Article: MOCAK acquires works by Gülin Hayat Topdemir and Guido Casaretto


Zilberman at Art Dubai
Installation view of Zilberman Gallery's booth at Art Dubai 2017

Turkish galleries Galeri Zilberman, SANATORIUM and Galerist participated at this year’s edition of Art Dubai taking place from 15-18 March. Sanatorium showed works by Ahmet Doğu İpek and Ali İbrahim Öcal, while Zilberman Gallery participated with Burçak Bingöl, Antonio Cosentino, Aisha Khalid and Walid Siti. Galerist exhibited works by Rasim Aksan, Semiha Berksoy, Deniz Gul, İdil İlkin, Seza Paker, Ayça Telgeren, TUNCA, Merve Unsal, Elif Uras, Burcu Yagcioglu and Nil Yalter.

Sanatorium at Art Dubai
Installation view of Sanatorium's booth at Art Dubai 2017

Istanbul-based galleries Dirimart and Pi Artworks participated in Art Basel Hong Kong from 23-25 March 2017. Dirimart showed works by Fahrelnissa Zeid, Sarkis, Ayşe Erkmen, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Haluk Akakçe, Mustafa Hulusi, Ebru Uygun, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt and Güçlü Öztekin while Pi Artworks brought works by Susan Hefuna, Maude Maris, Volkan Aslan, Yuşa Yalçıntaş and Gülay Semercioğlu.

Dirimart at Art Basel Hong Kong
Installation view of Dirimart's booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017

Artists from Turkey Featured at 57th Venice Biennial

on Thursday, 23 March 2017. Posted in ---2017--- , June

Related Article: Istanbul Galleries in Basel


Running from 13 May – 26 November 2017, the main exhibition of the 57th Venice Biennial – titled 'Viva Arte Viva', curated by Christine Macel – includes works by artists Hale Tenger and Nevin Aladağ from Turkey. Aladağ’s 'Traces' is a 3-channel video work. On three separate projection surfaces, Aladağ creates a large-scale sound-and-image portrait of the city of Stuttgart, the place she spent her childhood and adolescence. Hale Tenger’s 7 channel video installation entitled 'Balloons on the Sea' takes its subject directly from a popular pastime practiced along the Bosphorus in Istanbul and along the coasts of Turkey; a game of shooting at balloons laid on the sea.

Nevin Aladağ, Traces
Nevin Aladağ, Traces, 2015 HD video, 3 channel video installation (detail)

Nevin Aladağ, Traces
Hale Tenger, Balloons on the Sea, 2011, video installation, 57th Venice Biennial, courtesy the artist and Galeri Nev Istanbul

Museum Sztuki Acquires Work by Sükran Moral

on Thursday, 08 June 2017. Posted in ---2017--- , June

Related Article: Inci Eviner receives the 2017 Sharjah Biennial Prize


Şükran Moral, Bordello II
Şükran Moral, Bordello II, 2011. Pigment Print 80x120cm Courtesy the artist and Zilberman Gallery

Şükran Moral’s 'Bordello' has been acquired by Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Poland. Moral is one of the seminal performance artists in Turkey. Her work challenges the position of women in society, focusing in particular on violence against women or other underrepresented groups. Moral’s performances have often taken place in very diverse spaces, from brothels and hamams to mental hospitals, disrupting thus their normal function and turning them into discursive platforms for art.

Cevdet Erek at the Pavilion of Turkey in Venice

on Thursday, 23 March 2017. Posted in ---2017--- , June

Related Article: Artists from Turkey Featured at Documenta 14


Bulent Eczacibasi, Cevdet Erek, Cengiz Eroldu. Photo: Poyraz Tutuncu
Cevdet Erek, ÇIN, 2017, installation view at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th Venice Biennial. photo: RMphotostudio

At the Pavilion of Turkey, Cevdet Erek presents 'ÇIN', a site-specific installation which uses architecture and sound to explore poetic and political imaginings. Its title has been imagined as a sound signal that foretells the work. An onomatopoeic word in Turkish, 'ÇIN' imitates a specific percussive sound, and is also a root from which the words reverberation and tinnitus are derived. With ÇIN, Erek continues the experimentation of themes and methods which he has investigated in his previous series 'Room of Rhythms', 'Rulers and Rhythms Studies' and 'Sound Ornamentations'. In these works, rhythms of history, every day and nature are formalised in the coming together of sound, architecture and performance; visual and sonic timelines are constructed; and architectural ornamentation is created through the use of sound patterns and speech.

Pre-conceptualisation, experimentation and improvisation each play a part in ÇIN’s creation. The basis of Erek’s work for the Pavilion of Turkey consists of a spatial programme concretised by an architectural construction and a multichannel sound installation that were conceived in tandem. Sounds - all produced in the space after its physical construction was completed - guide the one’s passage and are confronted both sequentially and as an infinite variety of combinations. Their complex configurations are at times immersive and at other moments are obscured due to the position and direction of the visitor, generating unseen boundaries and articulating transitivity. Over the course of the Biennale Arte 2017 ÇIN will also be open to interventions: in enabling artists to perform in the space, for instance, with the original sounds varied or switched off. Its form is never final.

Bulent Eczacibasi, Cevdet Erek, Cengiz Eroldu. Photo: Poyraz Tutuncu
Bulent Eczacibasi, Cevdet Erek, Cengiz Eroldu. Photo: Poyraz Tutuncu

Artists Announced for the 15th Istanbul Biennial

on Tuesday, 25 July 2017. Posted in ---2017--- , August

Related Article: 4th Istanbul Design Biennial Curator Announced


The 15th Istanbul Biennial Map
The 15th Istanbul Biennial Map, Courtesy IKSV Istanbul


Taking place from 16 September - 12 November 2017, the 15th edition of the Istanbul Biennial, entitled 'a good neighbour' brings together artworks by 55 artists from 32 countries, all addressing different notions of home, belonging and neighbourhood. The biennial takes place in six neighbouring venues: Istanbul Modern, Galata Greek Primary School, Ark Kültür, Pera Museum, Yoğunluk Atelier, and Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hammam.

Instead of a statement, the curators, artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset, developed 40 questions that have guided the process of making the exhibition. These questions were first presented live in Istanbul by 40 performers of different ages, genders and backgrounds in December 2016, and were shared on the Biennial’s website and social media accounts. A video documentation of the press conference can found through this youtube link.

“Your neighbour might be someone who lives quite a different life from yours. And hopefully you, unlike many politicians lately, are not the one who chooses to deal with your fear of otherness by fencing yourself off. The artists in the 15th Istanbul Biennial raise questions about ideas of home, neighbourhood, belonging and co-existence from multiple perspectives. Some of the artworks examine how our domestic living conditions and modes have changed and how our neighbourhoods have transformed, while others focus on how we cope with today’s geopolitical challenges on a micro-level. The Biennial takes its form from the invited artists’ personal or analytical statements: an engaging mixture of hopes and visions, of sadness and indignation, of history and present day.”
Elmgreen & Dragset, curators of the 15th Istanbul Biennial

From Moscow to Sydney: The International Billboard Project

In anticipation of the exhibition, the 15th Istanbul Biennial launched an International Billboard Project to share the theme of 'a good neighbour' in different cities around the world. Through collaborations with cultural institutions worldwide, the International Billboard Project displays a carefully curated selection of photographs by Lukas Wassmann, which capture unexpected encounters paired with questions asking what makes a good neighbour. Host cities include Moscow (Russia), Sydney (Australia), Milan (Italy), Ljubljana (Slovenia), Armagh, Ballynahinch, Belfast, Downpatrick and Newry (Northern Ireland), Southhampton (UK), Calgary (Canada), Plovidv (Bulgaria), and Chicago (USA), Seoul and Gwangju (South Korea).

The 15th Istanbul Biennial, Billboard Series
The 15th Istanbul Biennial, Billboard Series, Dublin, Courtesy IKSV Istanbul


List of artists

Galata Greek Primary School

Heba Y. Amin
Born in Cairo, lives in Berlin

Mark Dion
Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, lives in New York, NY

Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe
Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Dayton, Ohio, both live in New York, NY

Kasia Fudakowski
Born in London, lives in Berlin

Pedro Gómez-Egaña
Born in Bucaramanga, lives between Bergen and Copenhagen

Lungiswa Gqunta
Born in Port Elizabeth, lives in Cape Town

Andrea Joyce Heimer
Born in Great Falls, Montana, lives in Ferndale, Washington

Morag Keil & Georgie Nettell
Born in Edinburgh and Bedford, both live in London

Olaf Metzel
Born in Berlin, lives in Munich

Mahmoud Obaidi
Born in Baghdad, lives in Burlington, Ontario

Henrik Olesen
Born in Esbjerg, lives in Berlin

Erkan Özgen
Born in Mardin, lives in Diyarbakır

Leander Schönweger
Born in Meran, lives in Vienna

Dan Stockholm
Born in Thisted, lives in Copenhagen

Ali Taptık
Born in Istanbul, lives in Istanbul

Bilal Yılmaz
Born in Manisa, lives in Istanbul

Istanbul Modern

Volkan Aslan
Born in Ankara, lives in Istanbul

Alper Aydın
Born in Ordu, lives between Ordu, Ankara, Konya, and Istanbul

Monica Bonvicini
Born in Venice, lives in Berlin

Louise Bourgeois
Born in Paris, died in New York, NY

Latifa Echakhch
Born in El Khnansa, lives in Martigny

Candeğer Furtun
Born in Istanbul, lives in Istanbul

Kim Heecheon
Born in Seoul, lives in Seoul

Mirak Jamal
Born in Tehran, lives in Berlin

Fernando Lanhas
Born in Porto, died in Porto

Victor Leguy
Born in Sao Paulo, lives in Sao Paulo

Klara Lidén
Born in Stockholm, lives in Berlin

Mahmoud Obaidi
Born in Baghdad, lives in Burlington, Ontario

Lydia Ourahmane
Born in Saida, lives in Oran and London

Rayyane Tabet
Born in Ashquot, lives in Beirut

Young-Jun Tak
Born in Seoul, lives in Berlin

Kaari Upson
Born in San Bernadino, California, lives in Los Angeles, California

Kemang Wa Lehulere
Born in Cape Town, lives in Cape Town

Yonamine
Born in Luanda, lives in Harare

Xiao Yu
Born in Inner Mongolia, lives in Beijing

ARK Kültür

Mahmoud Khaled
Born in Alexandria, lives in Trondheim

Pera Museum

Adel Abdessemed
Born in Constantine, lives in London

Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Born in Enugu, lives in Los Angeles, California

Alejandro Almanza Pereda
Born in Mexico City, lives in Guadalajara

Berlinde De Bruyckere
Born in Ghent, lives in Ghent

Vajiko Chachkhiani
Born in Tbilisi, lives in Berlin

Gözde İlkin
Born in Istanbul, lives in Istanbul

Liliana Maresca
Born in Buenos Aires, died in Buenos Aires

Lee Miller
Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, died in Chiddingly, East Sussex

Aude Pariset
Born in Versailles, lives in Berlin

Sim Chi Yin
Born in Singapore, lives in Beijing

Dayanita Singh
Born in New Delhi, lives in New Delhi

Tatiana Trouvé
Born in Cosenza, lives in Paris

Tsang Kinwah
Born in Shantou, lives in Hong Kong

Andra Ursuta
Born in Salonta, lives in New York, NY

Fred Wilson
Born in New York, NY, lives in New York, NY

Yoğunluk Atelier

Yoğunluk
Founded in Istanbul, live in Istanbul

Küçük Mustafa Paşa Hammam

Monica Bonvicini
Born in Venice, lives in Berlin

Stephen G. Rhodes
Born in Houston, Texas, lives in Berlin

Tuğçe Tuna
Born in Mons, lives in Istanbul

Outside all venues

Burçak Bingöl
Born in Giresun, lives in Istanbul

Lukas Wassmann
Born in Zurich, lives in Berlin

Nilbar Güreş wins the De'Longhi Art Projects Artist Award

on Monday, 05 March 2018. Posted in ---2018--- , March

Related Article: Öktem & Aykut Gallery Moves to New Location


Nilbar Güreş wins the De'Longhi Art Projects Artist Award
Nilbar Güreş, Double Headed Snake - Queer Desire is Wild, 2015, Handmade belt. Courtesy of Galerie Tanja Wagner.


London Art Fair 2018 announced Nilbar Güreş, represented by Galerie Tanja Wagner, as the winner of the De’Longhi Art Projects Artist Award 2018.

Güreş’ work was exhibited as part of ​'Dialogues', an exhibition which invites pairs of international galleries to collaborate around a shared theme. In a first for London Art Fair 2018, this year’s edition of ​'Dialogues' features exclusively female or female-identifying artists whose work addresses the diverse experiences and identities of women. In doing so the curator Misal Adnan Yıldız aimed to address the lack of representation of women, especially non-European women, within the art world.

Nilbar Güreş, who identifies as a feminist queer artist, chooses a performative approach for her works, using photography, collage, drawing and video to place everyday realities into theatrical settings in order to explore cultural identity and codes. Güreş’ works are characterised by a playful and humouristic approach that is nonetheless both political and critical, addressing the effects of sexism, violence and gender inequality. Her work draws upon first-hand research and cultural observation, with Güreş often living with her subjects in order to experience their environments.

Güreş was born in 1977 in Istanbul, Turkey, and studied at the Department of Fine Arts at the Marmara University in Istanbul, and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. It is evident in much of her work that her cultural heritage is of great importance to her, although it also acts in conflict with other facets of her identity, with Anatolian narratives, symbols and fabrics inspiring her works. Head Standing Totem for example, created in Brazil for the São Paolo Biennial, draws upon Güreş’ Anatolian background, using scarves and serving cups within the composition, as well as making references to the indigenous cultures she encountered in Brazil. This trip also provided inspiration for a recently created collage on display at London Art Fair entitled ​Jumping Bed. The work evokes the ideas of wilderness and escapism, in a physical sense but also making reference to the wilderness of queerness and the empowerment that comes from escaping societal conventions and limitations. Güreş’ practice also encompasses video works, for example ​Wolf and Lamb, featuring two children playing in animal masks (the boy as a wolf, and the girl a lamb), inviting the viewer to challenge the gendered conventions they may be subjected to as adults.

Galerie Tanja Wagner, based in Berlin, works with a diverse group of emerging artists with strong social and political positions whose work fosters discussions about society and the humanity of the individual. The gallery facilitates the exchange of thoughts and beliefs, and also actively contributes to the expansion of a diverse and gender-balanced art market.

Nilbar Güreş will have her first solo exhibition in Berlin at Galerie Tanja Wagner, opening 23 February 2018, followed by a solo exhibition at Lentos Museum, Graz in June this year.

Nilbar Güreş wins the De'Longhi Art Projects Artist Award
Nilbar Güreş, Frozen Zebra, 2017, Mixed media on fabric, Galerie Tanja Wagner

4th Mardin Biennial 2018

on Friday, 13 April 2018. Posted in ---2018--- , May

Related Article: Inci Eviner to Represent Turkey at 58th Venice Biennial


4th Mardin Biennial


The 4th International Mardin Biennial, entitled 'Beyond Words' and curated by a team consisting of Fırat Arapoğlu, Nazlı Gürlek and Derya Yücel, will be open to the public from 4 May until 4 June 2018.

Since its beginning in 2010, the International Mardin Biennial, directed by Döne Otyam and hosted by the Mardin Cinema Association, has received much acclaim both in its own region and on a global scale.

This 4th edition of the biennial will unfold in three interrelated sections: “Infinite Sight” curated by Fırat Arapoğlu, “Body Language” curated by Nazlı Gürlek and “Borders and Thresholds” curated by Derya Yücel. It will feature works by an international list of artists exploring various ways in which meaning is created and communicated beyond words – through sight, body language and space. In other words, the exhibition will bring together those specific modes of expression that are central to art-making – the visual, the bodily and the spatial.

As in the previous editions, the aim of this 4th edition is to transform Mardin’s historical buildings into creative platforms where the potential for communal space and a common language can be experienced. The German Headquarters (Alman Karargahı), Mor Efrem Monastery, Yıldız Turkish Bath, Mardin Museum stone houses, Arcaded mall shops (Revaklı çarşı dükkanları) and Carpenters’ Coffeeshop (Marangozlar Kahvesi) will be used as biennial venues.

www.mardinbienali.org

BEYOND WORDS – 4th International Mardin Biennials Artists List

Albena Baeva / Ali Emir Tapan / Ana Mendieta / Aslı Bostancı / Aydın Teker / Bilge Alkor / CANAN / Cengiz Tekin / Ceren Oran&Burcu Yılmaz / Chaw Ei Thein / Chris Burden / Çağrı Saray / Didem Erbaş / Eda Aslan / Emre Zeytinoğlu / Fırat Bingöl / Gizem Aksu / Guy Ben-Ner / Hasan Pehlevan / Huo Rf / İhsan Oturmak / İnsel İnal / İpek Duben / Janis Rafa / John Gerrard / Julian Stallabrass / Ken Friedman / Lewis Hine / Leyla Postalcıoğlu / Iliko Zautashvili / Magali Duzant / Mahmut Celayir / Maria Papadimitrou / MERKEZKAÇ / Metin Çelik / Mustafa Avcı / Mürsel Argunağa / Nasan Tur / Özlem Altın / Parastou Forouhar / PELESİYER / Ramize Erer / Romina Meriç / Sara Kostic / Senem Gökçe Oğultekin / Serkan Taycan / Seyhun Topuz / Simon Faithfull / Taner Ceylan / Youssef Nabil

M HKA Antwerp hosts Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin exhibition

on Tuesday, 10 November 2015. Posted in ---2015--- , November

Related Article: Cengiz Çekil, key figure of Contemporary Art in Turkey, dies at 70


The exhibition titled 'Democratic luxury' has been developed as a collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp (M HKA) and RAMPA Gallery, Istanbul, with the displays across both venues together forming a major retrospective of the work of Alptekin. The display at RAMPA runs from 2 September 2015 until 14 November 2015 and the one in Antwerp from 16 October 2015 until 31 January 2016.

“I investigate the beauty and the vulgar and the relationship between them.”

Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin (Izmir, 1957–Istanbul, 2007) was fascinated by the difference between the promise of something and its banal reality. This promise could lie in the name of a cheap hotel offering the experience of a distant place, or in the branding of a mass-produced product unconvincingly simulating luxuriousness or exoticism. Alptekin was an artist that saw the profound effects of global capitalism on the everyday, observing the movement of people and products across geographies, particularly in the period following the collapse of the Soviet Union. He himself was also a traveller, studious of forms of feral capitalism surging from places considered the fringes of western modernity. It is the signifiers and remnants of all this – traces of the burgeoning effects of mobility, trade and image circulation – that Alptekin used as the materials for his art-making, as a means for contemplating what it all represented.

Part of the first generation of Turkish artists considered to be globally active and nationally influential, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin is considered one of the most significant figures in the established contemporary art scene of Istanbul. The exhibition Democratic luxury is a major retrospective of his practice, bringing together works produced during the two decades either side of the new millennium. Since the early 1990s, Alptekin focused on an artistic production broad in scope, which included photographs, sculptures, installation, neon text, videos and collages. It is ‘plastic art’ reflecting the prosaic material qualities of ‘global junk’ that came with the flow of trans-national free-market capitalism. This dislocation with geography recurs as a thematic strand in much of his practice, analysing how a society’s representations of ‘other’ places conform to our desires and stereotypes. Democratic luxury aims to take us deeper into the thought-processes of the exhibited works through the inclusion of a selection of studies, drawings and notes from the Alptekin archive. The exhibition will also consider his collaborative initiatives with other artists such as the Bunker Research Group, the Barn Research Group or the Sea Elephant Travel Agency which aspired to organise a ‘floating laboratory’ for artists and thinkers to circumnavigate the Black Sea, developing critical discussions and artistic exchange, all-the-while tracing the route taken by the protagonist in Jules Verne’s novel Kéraban the Inflexible (1883).

Curator: Nav Haq

Huseyin Bahri Alptekin, Turk Truck
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Turk Truck, 1995/2013, Courtesy the Estate of Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, M. D. Morris, Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz and Rampa Istanbul, Photo: Bram Goots

Huseyin Bahri Alptekin with M D Morris, Heterotopia
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin with M D Morris, Heterotopia, 1995/2013, Courtesy the Estate of Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, M. D. Morris, Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz and Rampa Istanbul

Nilbar Güres receives Belvedere Contemporary Art Award 2015

on Saturday, 09 January 2016. Posted in ---2015---

Related Article: Galleries from Istanbul at Art Dubai 2016


Nilbar Güreş is the recipient of the fifth edition of the BC21 Art Award, a €20,000-worth prize presented biannually by the Boston Consulting Group and the Belvedere in Vienna. The Jury stated: „Notable for its idiosyncratic approach to a variety of media, Nilbar Güreş’ work distinguishes itself for its engagement with both the humor and politics of identity, sex, and gender. The artist’s collages, photographs, drawings, and objects reveal a playful intelligence with which she confronts normative conventions and stereotypical representations to great effect."

Güreş was nominated for the BC21 Art Award 2015 by Sophie Goltz (Stadtkuratorin Hamburg). This year’s selection jury comprised Vasif Kortun (Director SALT, Istanbul), João Ribas (curator, Serralves Museum, Porto), Polly Staple (Director Chisenhale Gallery, London), and Agnes Husslein-Arco (Director of the Belvedere and 21er Haus).

Nilbar Güreş received her BA in Fine Arts from Marmara University and went on to get her MA from the Department of Painting and Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna in 2002. Exploring gender roles and cultural identities through collage, drawing, sculpture, photography, video and performance, the artist tries to identify moments of clarity amongst absurd elements of quotidian life. In Güreş’s collages - which combine drawing, embroidery, appliqué and painting – motifs and symbols from the oriental pictorial tradition are crossed with modern poses and (homo-)erotic scenes to form socio- political narratives. Challenging clichés of women’s social visibility and traditional roles, the artist creates provocative counter-images that address Western fears of Islamic symbols. The artist lives and works in Vienna and Istanbul.
Güreş had artist residencies in Malmö, Auckland, São Paulo and New York, and was awarded the Msgr. Otto Mauer-Award (2014), and the Professor-Hilde-Goldschmidt-Award (2013).
Her work was on show at the 21er Haus in Vienna, alongside works by the other three nominees, Andreas Duscha, Sarah Pichlkostner and Hannes Zebedin in November 2015.

Nilbar Güreş Belvedere Vienna
Nilbar Güreş, Courtesy Belvedere Vienna. Photo: Stephan Joham.

Nilbar Güreş, Promising Hands, 2014
Nilbar Güreş, Promising Hands, 2014, metal construction, fibres, a promise bamboo ring, wool. Courtesy the artist, Galerie Martin Janda and Rampa

Turkey at the 1st London Design Biennial

on Tuesday, 03 May 2016. Posted in ---2016---, September

Related Article: Contemporary Artists from Turkey in the Imago Mundi - Luciano Benetton Collection


Turkey’s contribution to the first ever London Design Biennial was on view at Somerset house from 7 to 27 September 2016. The inaugural London Design Biennale featured projects from over thirty countries, which were called to respond to the theme of ‘Utopia by Design,’ celebrating the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia (1516).

Coordinated by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), Turkey’s contribution to the biennale presented ‘The Wish Machine'. Autoban’s installation takes direct inspiration from the ‘wish-tree’, a cultural tradition deeply rooted in the ancient Anatolian faith and found in ancient Greek, Kabala and Persian believes. Its origins can be tracked back to the Neolithic. It operates on a simple mechanism that involves affixing a note or a memento to a branch of a tree as an act of hope born out of hopelessness. In this act, the tree becomes a place of last resort for one’s hopes and wishes, which are pinned on universal powers, in the hope that they can change the supplicant’s fate. ‘The Wish Machine’ takes this multi-cultural tradition as the key insight into how design and utopia can cooperate.

The installation that was installed in the West Wing G1A at Somerset House was an interactive pneumatic system operating in a mirrored space. Visitors were invited to walk through a tunnel that was made of transparent hexagonal tubes. They could share their hopes and wishes, vision of utopias, and aspiration for the future, by writing them on paper, and feeding them to the Wish Machine through a lid at the dead end. Notes then travelled back through the tubes to a place out of visitors’ sight, as if their destination is a place unknown. Just like throwing coins to the depths of a lake or lighting a candle to make a wish come true, the final destination being addressed remained a mystery.

Autoban's Project
Autoban's Project 'Wish Machine' for the 1st London Design Biennial in 2016. Photo: Courtesy Autoban and IKSV

In forming ‘The Wish Machine,’ Seyhan Özdemir and Sefer Çağlar, the founders of Autoban, were motivated by the utopian idea of detaching from all known parameters belonging to the past and the present to dream for a better future. This positively provocative approach to suggest solutions for humanity and the act of dreaming was their biggest inspiration, reflected in their own field of design. The biggest problem they identified in today’s world is the inability to express an idea or a dream about a more positive future, without constantly having to struggle with the chaos of the present.

Having realised that preceding systems that were designed to create a ‘perfect’ order from chaos and diversity have eventually failed, the designers embraced the endless journey both as a method and form. Utopia was an inspirational resource for the idea of ‘being triggered for searching.’ Throughout their journey, Utopia was a reference point that inspired them to create constructive thinking and keep the essence of hope.

Autoban has worked in an interdisciplinary and collective setting with different expertise, to make a real, interactive, and perfectly working mechanical system, custom designed for the biennial space. In their design approach for the London Design Biennale, the company has looked into possibilities to express familiar traditions in new representations, and to build a century-long, well-known system with a surprising new form and function.

Ahmet Ögüt
Press Conference for Turkey's project for the 1st London Design Biennial in 2016. Photo: Mahmut Ceylan, Courtesy IKSV

Contemporary Artists from Turkey in the Imago Mundi - Luciano Benetton Collection

on Wednesday, 10 August 2016. Posted in ---2016---, August

Related Article: Work by Burçak Bingöl enters permanent Collection of the Met in New York


istanbul codex imago mundi
Istanbul Codex, imago mundi collection

227 works by artists from Turkey have recently been included in the ‚Istanbul Codex. Contemporary Artists from Turkey’ part of the Imago Mundi Collection , a cultural, democratic, global, non-profit project, promoted by Luciano Benetton with the aim of creating the widest possible mapping of the different contemporary artistic experiences of our world. In Imago Mundi, each country is represented by the works of established artists and new talents, commissioned with the maximum freedom of expression, whose only constraint is the 10x12 cm format.

The collection is accompanied by a publication of the same title with texts by Luciano Benetton, Claudio Scorretti, Irina Ungureanu, Lora Sarıaslan.

istanbul codex imago mundi
Istanbul Codex, imago mundi collection

Güneş Terkol, Looking for Each Other
Güneş Terkol, Looking for Each Other, 2015, imago mundi collection

Gamze Taşdan, Orhan
Gamze Taşdan, Orhan, 2015, imago mundi collection

Güneş Terkol, Looking for Each Other
Kürşat Bayhan, Waterbottles, 2015, imago mundi collection

Work by Burçak Bingöl enters permanent Collection of the Met in New York

on Wednesday, 10 August 2016. Posted in ---2016---, August

Related Article: CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS FROM TURKEY IN THE IMAGO MUNDI - LUCIANO BENETTON COLLECTION


Burçak Bingöl’s work ‚Broken II’ (2013) is now part of the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum New York. The piece is part of a series in which the artist questions Turkish society and heritage, meshes its cultural and personal stories, deconstructs familiar everyday items then casts them in richly-decorated ceramic artwork. Objects such as plain white bottles and tiles are cast and/or decorated in resonance with the traditions of the pre-modern Near East (Seljuq, Ottoman and Safavid). Sometimes they are dashed on the floor – a violent act captured by the artist in a short video installation – and a selection of the shards are then reassembled and decorated. In "Broken II" irregularly broken ceramic pieces have been perpendicularly reassembled in a three-dimensional square panel. Utilizing the medium of floral-decorated stonepaste, this work connects to the traditional ceramics and the colorful, decorative patterns created throughout the centuries in the Islamic world. The prominence given to roses relates especially to the Ottoman period and Iznik ceramics more specifically, wherein this flower appears prominently alongside tulips, hyacinths and carnations, all of which are rendered in a stylized, rather than naturalistic, manner of those in "Broken II." This method of deconstructing a traditional Turkish art form or medium – then reassembling it into a contemporary object calls both to the artistic Ottoman and Islamic heritage and questions the idea of "what is art?" – Bingöl’s counter to Marcel Duchamp’s concept of "ready-made art."

Burçak Bingöl, Broken II
Burçak Bingöl, Broken II, 2013, The Metropolitan Museum New York

The artist’s practice is an interrogation of belonging, culture, identity, decoration and failure by blurring the boundaries between these seemingly distinct notions. They are psychological landscapes that hover between abstraction and representation, seduction and repulsion, adoption and preservation that both embrace and disregard Eastern and Western traditions. They are not only both questioning and expanding the Western canon but also inviting the viewer to a re-consideraton of the distinction between art vs. Craft and high vs. Low. Working with sculptures, drawings, video, photography and installation, her work is a constant investigation of materials and objects where the repetitive act is formulated by merging fiction and failure. Burçak Bingöl’s sixth solo exhibiton Mythos & Utopia will take place at Zilberman Gallery Istanbul between February and April 2017.

Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Biennial

on Monday, 29 August 2016. Posted in ---2016---, August

Related Article: 5th International Çanakkale Biennial Announces Line-Up of Artists


The Pavilion of Turkey at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (28 May-27 November 2016) features the project Darzanà. Curated by Feride Çiçekoğlu, Mehmet Kütükçüoğlu and Ertuğ Uçar, with curatorial collaborators Cemal Emden and Namık Erkal, the exhibition team of Darzanà consists of Hüner Aldemir, Caner Bilgin, Hande Ciğerli, Gökçen Erkılıç, Nazlı Tümerdem and Yiğit Yalgın. The Pavilion of Turkey, coordinated by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA, is located at the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale.

Darzana, Pavilion of Turkey 15th Architecture Biennial in Venice 2016
Darzanà, Pavilion of Turkey, 15th Architecture Biennial in Venice 2016, Photo: Cemal Emden

Darzanà is a project about frontier infringement and on hybridity. It challenges the increasing confinement within borders of religion, language, race, nationality, ethnicity and gender. The project highlights the common cultural and architectural heritage shared between the arsenals of Istanbul and Venice. For the Biennale Architettura 2016, a last vessel, Baştarda, has been constructed out of abandoned materials found in the old dockyard of Istanbul and transported to Venice to suggest a new connection in Mediterranean.

Darzanà: Two Arsenals, One Vessel

The project title Darzanà means dockyard and it is a hybrid word, like the Turkish word tersane and the Italian word arsenale. These words are derived or distorted from the same root, the Arabic dara’s-sina’a (place of industry). They all originate from the common language that developed in the Mediterranean from the 11th to the 19th century among people such as sailors, travellers, merchants, and warriors. Known as Lingua Franca, this was a shared language when Mediterranean was the main vessel connecting the surrounding cultures. In the same vein, it is possible to talk of a common architectural language and to define it as Architectura Franca.

Despite their very different identities and populations today, Venice and Istanbul once both featured considerable dockyards of similar sizes and production. The common core of these dockyards was the shipsheds called “volti” in Italian and “göz” in Turkish. The shipshed is the building block of a shared architectural heritage; its proportions grow out of the dimensions of boats and of common building technologies. Darzanà links a shipshed of İstanbul with a shipshed of Venice by a vessel. For the project Darzanà, a last vessel, Baştarda was built earlier this year at an abandoned shipshed at the Haliç dockyards in Istanbul.

Similar to Darzanà, Baştarda is also a hybrid word. Derived from bastardo, Baştarda is a cross between a galley and a galleon and is propelled by oars and sails. As a symbol of Mediterranean hybridity, Baştarda creates a bridge between the two shipyards, one left to rot away in the megacity of Istanbul, the other springing to life only at certain times of the year in the museum-city that is Venice.

In Istanbul, Baştarda was constructed beneath a reproduction of the wooden trusses of the hall in Sale d’Armi of Venice shipyard that hosts the Pavilion of Turkey. Measuring 30 metres long and weighing four tons, the vessel was built from more than 500 pieces including seven kilometres of steel cable and abandoned materials found on site including wooden moulds, discarded furniture, signboards and boats. In April, the components were shipped to Sale d’Armi, where Baştarda was re-constructed in May for the Pavilion of Turkey. When La Biennale closes in November 2016, Baştarda will continue her journey and she will eventually become the centrepiece of a museum of arsenal, when the site is opened to public in Istanbul.

Darzanà’s main theme raises the question of whether it is possible to transform borders, fronts and other spaces of conflict into thresholds and spaces of consensus. In this vein, Baştarda becomes a vessel of frontier infringement. She came to Venice, and she will eventually go back to Istanbul, travelling back and forth, just as the languages, the architectural forms, and people of the Mediterranean, have done throughout history. Reporting from Darzanà, one can announce the futility of demarcations on the seas and in between the words.

For more information: www.iksv.org / pavilionofturkey.iksv.org

Darzana, Pavilion of Turkey 15th Architecture Biennial in Venice 2016
Darzanà, Pavilion of Turkey, 15th Architecture Biennial in Venice 2016, Photo: Cemal Emden

Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s Red/Red joins MoMA Collection

on Wednesday, 12 October 2016. Posted in ---2016---, October

Related Article: Istanbul Dealers launch Gallery Weekend


istanbul codex imago mundi
Installation view of Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s Red/Red at the 14th Istanbul Biennale, 2015. Photo: Sahir Uğur Eren

Pieces from Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s installation Red/Red (2015), which was made for the 14th Istanbul Biennial, are included in the permanent collection of MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art in New York. The work comprises a series of patterns that the artist drew on worn-out papers and handmade notebooks with an inspiration from Armenian miniatures, and by using a specific red pigment traditionally made from an insect known as the Ararat cochineal and found around the Aras River. The pigment’s extraction technique remains largely in oblivion, known only by a few masters. The whole work was previously on display at Mathaf - Arab Museum of Modern Art for the second time after the biennial, on the occasion of its inclusion into the museum’s collection. Four patterns from the same series that were not exhibited in the biennial will be permanently on view at MoMA.

istanbul codex imago mundi
Installation view of Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s Red/Red at the 14th Istanbul Biennale, 2015. Photo: Sahir Uğur Eren

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