August

ArtInternational Istanbul

on Sunday, 11 August 2013. Posted in ---2013---, August

Relaed Article: Zoe Ryan appointed curator of the 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial


The contemporary art fair ArtInternational Istanbul launching in September for the first time might become a key event on the global arts calendar. Focusing strongly on Turkey and the Middle East, it aims to offer a fresh view of the contemporary art scene. “We’ve been considering Istanbul as a potential location for a new fair over the past few years,” says the show’s co-founder Sandy Angus. “The Turkish art scene is incredibly vibrant and the city offers a persuasive location with immense draw for new and more established collectors.”

Represented at the fair will be international high profile galleries such as Lisson and Pace, Venice’s Contini Art Gallery, Berlin’s Arndt, New York’s Leila Heller and San Francisco’s Hosfelt Gallery. They will be joined by Jeddah’s Athr Gallery, Dubai’s Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde and also an excellent selection of local galleries, including Egeran, Galeri Mana, Pi Artworks, x-ist, Galeri Non, Rampa and Galeri Zilberman.

For the inaugural edition of the fair, ArtInternational is collaborating with various artists from around the world. David Claerbout will present the premiere of his new film,“Travel, 1996-2013” in which a continuous camera movement makes a journey starting in a park, going into a dark European forest, then an Amazonian jungle and finally exiting the forest revealing a nondescript suburban plain. Ahmet Öğüt will present a new work involving light-weight screens playing videos of sign spinners held by people specifically hired for this task, standing at different corners and intersections of the Fair.

Tal Isaac Hadad will present a new series of performances “Piano Constraints’’ for modified grand pianos, playing a selection of pieces by famous composers. This specialization offers new possibilities explored by a series of interventions by Wilhem Latchoumia. The performance artist Gül Kozacıoğlu will be dispersing voices that will be scattered through the air, appearing at unexpected times.

Not-for-profit organizations from Istanbul will be exhibiting different works in a section curated by Özkan Cangüven whilst Başak Şenova will be curating a video-screening programme with a selection of artists from the participating galleries. This original screening programme will be played throughout the Fair.

Özkan Cangüven, Curator of the not-for-profit section, commented, “ArtInternational Istanbul will bring together prominent local and international galleries in its inaugural edition at Haliç Congress Center this September. I believe with the unique venue, commissioned works, curated education and video programming as well as not-for-profit section, it will be a great addition to the emerging Istanbul art scene and will become a must-visit destination and platform for the international art community. The non-profit section this year will host invited not-for-profit spaces, alternative institutions, and artists’ collectives from Turkey. These vital voices of Istanbul's diverse art scene will participate in the dialogue by presenting a glimpse of their distinctive programmes. The focus of the non-profit section this year will be on smaller-scale initiatives to highlight their crucial role in the changing Turkish art scene, believing their participation in this fair will lead to stimulating questions, discussions, and connections for everyone in ArtInternational Istanbul's first year."

Art International Istanbul Director Dyala Nusseibeh
Dyala Nusseibeh, Director of ArtInternational Istanbul

Mom, Am I Barbarian?

on Monday, 12 August 2013. Posted in ---2013---, August

Related Article: ArtInternational Istanbul Announces Artistic Programme


The notion of the public domain as a political forum will be the focal point of the 13th Istanbul Biennial. This highly contested concept will serve as a matrix to generate ideas and develop practices that question contemporary forms of democracy, challenge current models of spatio-economic politics, problematize the given concepts of civilization and barbarity as standardized positions and languages and, above all, unfold the role of contemporary art as an agent that both makes and unmakes what is considered public.

The idea of the public domain has diverse historic, philosophical, theoretical and geo-political roots and definitions. No matter how many interpretations exist, they are fueled by questions of democracy,related to equality, civic rights and political debate. From the existence of an artwork to the freedom of social media and the designation of urban spaces as public, the notion of public domain can cover a vast area where social engagement and political public debate are possible. It is this potentiality of public domain discourse that the exhibition aims to articulate.

The title of the Istanbul Biennial “Mom, am I barbarian?” is a quote from the Turkish poet Lale Müldür’s book of the same title. In the current context, what does it mean to be a barbarian? After all, galvanizing the limits of the civilized, the “barbarian” reflects the “absolute other” in society, circumnavigating the frames of identity politics and multicultural discourses. But, what does the reintroduction of barbarity as a concept reveal today? Is it a response to an urge to go beyond already existing formulas, towards the unknown? It may refer to a state of fragility, with potential for radical change (and/or destruction), thus, to the responsibility to take new positions.Through the unique interventions of artists, the biennial exhibition aims to explore further such pressing questions and will ask if art can foster the construction of new subjectivities to rethink the possibility of “publicness” today.

Focusing on urban public spaces in Istanbul, the Biennial will use public buildings left temporarily vacant by urban transformation. These may include courthouses, schools or military structures,post offices, former transportation hubs like train stations, ex-industrial sites such as warehouses,dockyards and the very contested Taksim Square and Gezi Park. Furthermore, the hallmarks of current urbanism such as shopping malls, hotels and office-residential towers are considered as sites for artistic interventions. Due to the uncertainties related to the highly speculative nature of urban transformation in Istanbul, the allocation of these spaces is quite precarious. In this sense, the Biennial will share the common experience of precarity that the city’s dwellers experience everyday. Whilst art functions in the symbolic realm, it can also directly interfere with reality, the concurrent urban transformation of Istanbul.

Certainly, biennials have been criticized for being catalysts of these transformations in the name of city branding and marketing. Or they have drawn criticism for being sites of political struggles and representations. Yet the open format of biennial exhibitions has the potential to produce new understandings and experiences of the public domain and forms of “publicness”. The 13th Istanbul Biennial will take this challenge to activate a public forum to open up new avenues of thought and imagination.

13th Istanbul Biennial 2013
Fulya Erdemci, Curator of the 13th Istanbul Biennial

The 13th Istanbul Biennial, titled “Mom, am I Barbarian?”, curated by Fulya Erdemci and focusing on the theme of public space as a political forum will be free of charge.

The dates of the 13th Istanbul Biennial have also changed: the exhibition will be held between 14 September and 20 October 2013. The exhibition venues and list of participating artists for the 13th Istanbul Biennial organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) and sponsored by Koç Holding will be announced in the forthcoming days.

Ayse Erkmen at the Barbican in London

on Monday, 12 August 2013. Posted in ---2013---, August

Related Article: Mom, Am I Barbarian? 13th Istanbul Biennial


This autumn, the renowned Turkish artist Ayşe Erkmen brings an ambitious new installation to The Curve of the Barbican in London. Interspersed throughout the 90-metre space Erkmen presents a series of scenic backdrops that are slowly lowered and raised by an automated fly system. Inspired by the backdrops typically found in the world of theatre, ballet and opera, Erkmen animates eleven large painted cloths of varying dimensions, themes and opacities in a random sequence, dividing the space and suggesting unexpected narratives as the backdrops move up and down.

Responding to the Barbican as a leading venue for all the arts, Erkmen brings an element that is normally in the background to the forefront, as if these backdrops were performers in their own production. The cloths feature a wide range of subjects including a turbulent seascape based on an operatic production of Ariadne, a scene from Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, a fairytale landscape, and domestic and futuristic interiors, among others. They are painted by professional scenic artists and skilled theatre design students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Ayşe Erkmen’s new commission opens in The Curve on 24 September 2013.

Ayşe Erkmen said: „I wanted to make something which is usually hidden backstage visible, bringing scenic backdrops into The Curve and setting them into action. By moving them up and down with a fly system the exhibition space will be continually changing, creating ideas of interval both in space and narration.“

The installation expands on Erkmen’s thinking behind Plan B, her work for the 2011 Venice Biennale, in which a functioning water filtration system was transformed into a room-filling sculpture that viewers could move within and around. Trained in sculpture, Erkmen has a strong interest in the aesthetic value of functional objects. She is fascinated by the possibilities of activating machines as part of a work. On a theatrical fly system specially adapted for The Curve, the movement of the backdrops with its scenes and surfaces playfully change depth, light and space, dramatically altering the environment of the gallery as the visitors walk through the space.

Jane Alison, Senior Curator, Barbican Art Gallery, said: „We are thrilled to present acclaimed contemporary artist Ayşe Erkmen in this new commission for The Curve. Installing this work in the space that wraps around the Barbican Hall, Erkmen’s flying backdrops embrace the very soul of the Barbican Centre, a place where the arts have no boundaries.“

Always responding directly to the context of the place in which she exhibits, Erkmen’s large-scale sculptural pieces often highlight a building’s infrastructure and past history. Her commission for The Curve also relates to works such as Under the Roof (2005), which split the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham horizontally with coloured silicon threads, separating the display space below from the Gothic buttresses above in a building that formerly housed a Victorian school.

Ayse Erkmen, Under the Roof, 2005
Ayşe Erkmen, Under the Roof, 2005. Silikon thread in pink, green and yellow, wooden boards, steel bars, fixations. Installation view: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham.
Photo: Jerry Hardmann Jones. Courtesy Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin

In a similar manner, Busy Colors (2005), an installation at New York’s Sculpture Center, divided the space with two expanses of coloured, translucent fabric that were raised and lowered by a gantry crane that existed in the space from the time it was a trolley repair shop.

Ayse Erkmen, Busy Colors, 2005

Ayşe Erkmen, Busy Colors, 2005. Sculpture Center, Long Island City, New York.
Photo: Oren Slor. Courtesy Sculpture Center and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin

The exhibition running from 24 September 2013 until 5 January 2014 is accompanied by a public programme, including a talk with the artist and an artistic theatre workshop.

Anish Kapoor for the first time in Turkey

on Monday, 12 August 2013. Posted in ---2013---, August

Related Article: Ayse Erkmen at the Barbican in London


Turner Prize Winner and one of the world’s most renowned contemporary sculptors Anish Kapoor will have his first major exhibition at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum (SSM) in Istanbul opening on 10 September 2013.

As SSM Director Nazan Ölçer says, Kapoor is “a profound and multidimensional artist.” He is particularly influenced by the concept of “voidness” and draws a lot of inspiration from literature and philosophy, referring to Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer while speaking about his work. Kapoor is also a painter but he doesn't like to talk about it and says he doesn't have any plans on showcasing his paintings.

Curator Norman Rosenthal states regarding the upcoming show at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum: “İstanbul is a city that is home to some very significant samples of Roman and Ottoman stone architecture. So in the İstanbul show, we'll also display Kapoor's stone sculptures that have never been exhibited before.”

The exhibition will include pieces never seen before, some of them weighing tons. Created by the artist who is regarded as having redefined abstract sculpture, Kapoor’s art brings together sculpture, architecture, engineering and technology. In parallel to the exhibition, SSM will be organizing conferences, workshops and various events to discuss the future of contemporary art and to study the leading artists of today. The exhibition is sponsored by Akbank, on the occasion of their 65th anniversary.

Anish Kapoor

Pi Artworks Gallery in London

on Wednesday, 14 August 2013. Posted in ---2013---, August

Related Article: Ayse Erkmen at the Barbican in London


Founded in 1998 by Yesim Turanlı, one of the founders of Istanbul Art Museum Foundation, Pi Artworks gallery is located in the famous Art Noveau style Mısır Apartment building at the middle of Istiklal Street in Istanbul. Pi Artworks is sharing the building with several notable and established galleries such as Galeri Zilberman, CDA Projects, Galeri Nev and the Nesrin Esirtgen Collection. While participating in an international art fair in Frankfurt for the first time in 2004, Yesim experienced the market potential of Turkish Contemporary Art outside her country. She has been active in the international art scene ever since. Pi Artworks has exhibited at the Armory Show NY, Art Basel HK, Art Stage Singapore, Art India and Contemporary Istanbul in 2012.

Having built up an international audience and collector base over many years and witnessing a steady growth of interest in Turkish Contemporary Art, Yesim Turanlı decided it was time to give her artists more international presence by branching out to London, one of the hot spots of contemporary art today and home to some of the best galleries in the world.

Right in time for Frieze this year, Pi Artworks London will open in the beginning of October 2013. It will be located just off busy Oxford Circus in between Pilar Corrias and Carroll/Fletcher on 55 Eastcastle Street and accross Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, who also recently decided to move her gallery from Zurich to London. Other galleries in the area are Scream, Paradise Row and Rose Issa.

Pi Artworks’ first show in London will be a group exhibition giving sneak preview of the upcoming shows and exhibiting an overview of the artists represented by the gallery. The exhibition will include works by Gülay Semercioglu, Susan Hefuna, Volkan Aslan, Nezaket Ekici, Horasan and Nejat Sati. Right after that, internationally acclaimed performance artist Nezaket Ekici will have a solo show with a selection of her installation videos and photos, giving a life perfomance at the opening of the show.

Yesim Turanli with a work by Susan Hefuna
Yesim Turanli with a work by Susan Hefuna at her Istanbul gallery Pi Artworks