Shuqin GuanThe capital of Bulgaria – Sofia – is full of an artistic atmosphere this summer. Wandering in the lush green public gardens of the city, you will easily encounter art.
At the Sofia City Garden and at the Crystal Garden you find two different exhibitions.
Exhibition in the City Garden | Madam Architect
You should definitely have seen the exhibition Madam Architect in the City Garden last July.
Madam Architect traced the work of female architects in Bulgaria and Germany. This exhibition presented twenty wonderful portraits of women who have contributed to architecture in both countries throughout the twentieth century. Like many other professional spheres, in architecture, women had to fight their way in a hostile environment to prove their talent and earn the right to an education and to a professional career.
Madam Architect was presented in Sofia by the Goethe-Institut, Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Modernist Architecture foundation.
The first section focused on German female architects and started the narrative by Emilie Winkelmann, the first freelance architect in Germany that ran an independent architecture practice in 1907. Many of the buildings designed by her, most of which were adapted to the individual needs of the residents, are now under historic preservation.
The timeline of this part of the German section spans German history since 1900, the Kaiserreich, the interwar years, the Third Reich, as well as the division of Germany and its reunification in the 21st century.
The Bulgarian section, on the other hand, only includes the years between the two world wars, and it is from this period that women were allowed into the conservative male sphere of architecture. Women in the construction industry faced a particularly unfriendly environment, which made it difficult for them to demonstrate their skills and earn access to educational opportunities and professional positions.
This exhibition explores the liberation movements of the 20th century, focusing on gender politics in particular. By breaking into traditionally male-dominated professions, getting involved in politics, and experimenting with new gender roles, women entered into modernism in which class, gender, knowledge struggles, senselessness, and alienation are all part of the conversation.
A focus of the exhibition is the past and present of women architects, their achievements in architecture, their lives, and their struggle to survive. A wide range of archival materials is displayed in the exhibition, including portrait photographs, hand-drawn projects, floor plans, sketches, and decorative drawings. By putting faces to names and sharing their experiences, these women in architecture are no longer anonymous and can voice their ideas.
The world’s female population is approximately 50%, and as equal stakeholders, their voices must be heard and encouraged. In this context, by highlighting the experiences and pursuits of these remarkable female architects, it is not only motivating other women to explore their own roles but also shedding more light on the present difficulties of gender equality in the workplace. Such a review of the past is also a good tool to better understand the present and future. Does the situation still exist? Why does this still happen? What should we do to voice and fight? How can we make them visible? Maybe these are the questions we should ask.
Exhibition in the Crystal Garden | The Beauty of Croatia
A photography exhibition opened at the Crystal Garden on a fine Monday afternoon, July 11. Presenting 26 amazing artworks by Croatia photographer Marko Vrdoljak, who has worked for many years on promoting the beauty of Croatia to the world.
The beauty of Croatia exhibition is one of the activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of establishing bilateral diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Croatia. With 26 images from around Croatia, the exhibition narrates a story of world-famous places and lesser-known locations. Providing a glimpse into the culture, history, and natural heritage of a relatively small country.
Experiencing some tough times and restrictions during the pandemic, these exhibitions also give fresh energy to the communities and inspiration for people enjoying their summertime. [...]Read more...
Shuqin GuanAfter finishing the impressive tour, visitors can leave notes and comments on small colorful cards. “One day, peace will come. We have not forgotten.” Once you enter the main hall of the former office of Agos newspaper, a colorful wall will definitely catch your eyes. This wall is divided into hundreds of small compartments, displaying visitors’ words of contemplation and remembrance of Hrant Dink, the former Turkish-Armenian editor-in-chief of Agos, who was assassinated on the 17th of January in 2007 in front of the building.
The loss of the intellectual, who had been the soft but brave voice of the Armenian community in Turkey, is felt in every corner of the apartment. It had been serving as a kind of unofficial visiting place for international delegations and Journalists interested in minority rights during Dink’s lifetime. Now it has become a site of memory of Hrant Dink and the archive of the newspaper Agos. On the main corridor, the visitor is welcomed by a Video of Dink approaching someone. The video was produced during a documentary production with him in the same space.
By displaying some audiovisual content and historical moments from the past, visitors of the exhibition will be guided by Hrant Dink in Armenian and Turkish. The first-person perspective and narrative created an immersive feeling, allowing visitors to have a deep conversation with Hrant Dink. The exhibition offers a glimpse into Hrant Dink’s life as well as his articles and explains why the Agos newspaper was a trailblazer in Turkey during the times when taboo subjects were highly dangerous to address. The entire exhibition does not only focus on the assassination but on different stations in Hrant Dink’s life, which illustrate the historical stations of the suffering of the Armenians in Turkey. It covers his childhood, his and his wife’s involvement in raising orphans and other children in need, his political engagement, the path of how he got a target, his tragic death, and much more. It allows the audience to get a deep understanding of who Hrant Dink was.
An installation named “salt and light” by artist Sarkis is set on the balcony of the former office of Hrant Dink, just behind the desk he used to work. It is inspired by the metaphor “creating diamonds from pain” and gives visitors a space to feel, reflect, and commemorate. Next to this artwork, a wall scatted with mutilated limbs of a statue dragged people into the trauma memory of 1915. Centering a biography of Hrant Dink as a dial, the moving pointer reminds us of the effort he made in his whole life and the lasting power that resulted from it. It also indicates that the memories will not be eliminated by time.
Dink worked lifelong on the trauma the Armenian genocide caused in society as a challenging but central task for progress in democracy. His understanding of memory culture, research, and progress in the research of personal life history was connected to scientific research. Traumatic events may have lasting effects on the identity and awareness of a community. As cultural and communicative memory scholar Aleida Assmann argues, individual and group memory are interconnected due to the fact that people construct collective memory not only via lived experience but also through interaction, communication, recognition, learning, and involvement. The transmission of customs, rituals, monuments, archives, and histories from one generation to the next reinforces a feeling of belonging to a larger group.
As an extension of this memory site, the “Hrant Dink: Here and Now” exhibition opened at the Armenian Center for Contemporary in Yerevan, Armenia, on the 7th of May. The importance of communication and international dialogue is one of the central messages of this parallel exhibition. To provide it between Yerevan and Istanbul, a screen system set up in the office allows visitors in both spaces to see and talk to each other over the audiovisual system. The technology eliminates the geographical border and brings people together, Here and Now.
The Hrant Dink Foundation is running several events and activities around memory culture. A Festival was launched on July 2-3 at Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center under the theme “Co-Existence.” Free and accessible to the public, this two-day conference included panels, workshops, activities, and musical performances. During the event, experts addressed a wide range of subjects, including human rights, refugees, gender, environment, cultural heritage, and art in civil society.
The congress hall was hosting a colorful crowd. One of the workshops, named “Modern campaigning & Storytelling fundamentals,” presented by feminist researcher and journalist Ani Hao, delivered a practical introduction to campaigning and storytelling that was both engaging and practical. Focusing on campaigning from a people-power and systems change perspective, she underlined how to build participation and engagement through compelling stories. Through campaign-building activities and discussions, the workshop helped participants to build up an understanding of campaign strategy.
The activities were followed by a large number of young people involved in the festival and interested in all these topics. Outside the conference hall, a number of organizations and groups working on the rights of different communities and issues were also given the opportunity to present themselves, a platform to communicate with the public. Democracy, freedom of expression, and justice are global issues, not only concerning Turkey. People around the world should fight for their rights.
Some progress is already visible. In early July, the Turkish government announced significant steps in normalizing bilateral ties between Turkey and Armenia. A deal between the two countries was reached that, as soon as possible, third-country citizens would be able to cross their respective land borders into both countries.
Hrant Dink always pointed out that through communication and understanding, constant voice, and resilience, the peace process will eventually be facilitated. The foundation founded in his name follows his mission. [...]Read more...
Shuqin GuanA soft white tablecloth with embroidery. It hangs calmly and modestly on the wall. But the embroidered text is powerful and asks provocatively: “How should women behave?”
Another area in the exhibition room is full of dozens of women’s magazine title pages. They were produced and published by women. In a gentle voice, they fought powerfully for the rights of women in the Ottoman Empire in a society dominated by men.
The Curators Dicle Beştaş and Didem Yazıcı reflect on their Curatorial studies during the times of their residencies at the Tarabya Culture Academy with a Set up in the Tea House of the historic summer residence of the German ambassador.
Artist Hale Tenger was their dialogue partner in Istanbul. She is one of the strongest and most powerful female voices of contemporary art in Istanbul. The cloth on the wall is her artwork from 1995: In memory of Nedime Sara (Other Times, other manners).
The text is a letter by Nedime Sara, an Ottoman Lady in Trabzon writing a letter to the magazine “Kadınlık” (womanhood) in 1914. She reflected on the conflicts in a household inhabited by three generations of Ottoman women. While the magazine published in Istanbul questioned the sense of veiling in public, Nedime Sara was confronted with being locked up in the house and not allowed to appear at the window. “Yes, our perception on womanhood is still in a primitive stage. I wonder when all these conservative minds and fallacies will end.”, she asked in her letter that was published in the magazine.
The Curators present publications of Women’s magazines from the 19th century until today on another wall. The rediscovery of the Ottoman publications was a hot topic in the 1990th in Turkey when Hale Tenger produced the artworks. After a long period of “State Feminism” from the 1930th to the 1990th, Feminists rediscovered the strong Ottoman Women’s Right movement in this period the Curators are quoting. They promise to continue on this road and open up new chapters later.
The exhibition From Ladies World to Roza is the first presentation of a long-term exhibition project, which aims to revise current art practices via the different histories of women’s magazines from the Ottoman Empire to modern-day Turkey. Feminism in Turkey had its origins in the mid-19th century when a group of women began publishing women’s magazines in various languages to voice their dissatisfaction with a society controlled by males. These magazines influenced a big part of the women’s rights movement. The wall presentations aim to provide a brief and alternative history of intersectional feminism in Turkey via the use of magazine covers dating from 1845 to the present.
Hale Tenger focuses on multifaceted approaches to creating. Her artwork addresses modern social, political, and cultural issues in Turkey, particularly the subject of femininity. “In memory of Nedime Sara (Other Times, other manners)” explores the female voices in Ottoman society, the long history of resistance against the deep-seated patriarchal structures, and evaluates the strength of writing as a central form of struggle. Four huge nails hold the white tablecloth in place, giving it an unusual appearance. The visual language of street demonstrations is cited by the symbolism of a banner and makes the work itself part of a rooted form of resistance the Curators underline. They describe the presentation as a teaser for a large-scale exhibition reflecting the diverse history of Feminism in Turkey, including Armenian, Kurdish and Queer positions. Looking forward to it. [...]Read more...
Eva TorelliEternal Feminine – Eternal Change
October 23 – October 31
The Biennale Internazionale Dell’Arte Contemporanea, also known as the Florence Biennale is an art exhibition held in Florence since 1997 inaugurated by Piero and Pasquale Celona.
The XIII. Florence Biennial will take place October 23 to October 31 at the historical Fortezza da Basso in Florence. More than 450 exhibitors, coming from 65 different countries will show their works at the 11.000 square meters space of the XVI Century pentagonal fortress.
The theme of this year’s Biennial is “Eternal Feminine – Eternal Change” with emphasis on the concept of femininity in contemporary art and design. It is trying to explore the femininity universe reflecting on the immutable essence of femininity and on the idea of the perennial change that characterizes the contemporary world.
“The Feminine has been understood as a transversal concept,” says the curator of the exhibition Fortunato D’Amico, “interpreted to give a face to artistic investigations that are sensitive to social, environmental and economic issues, explored from different points of view, found in the wide expressive panorama of the arts.”
One of the art work, presented at Cavaniglia Pavilion under this special concept, is La bandiera del mondo 1+1=3 (The Flag of the World) by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Angelo Savarese, which will occupy the central space of the pavilion. It is a symbol of a new awareness of responsibility, and exhorts us to“think globally, act locally, to love differences…”, carrying out an intercultural understanding to strengthen as well as above all a cultural understanding beyond borders, which still exist between nations, ethnics, religion and gender.
La bandiera del mondo 1+1=3 by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Angelo Savarese
Pistoletto will as well receive this years Lifetime Achievement Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” in art, for his work mainly dealing with the subject matter of reflection and the unification of art and everyday life; while Vivienne Westwood will be awarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award “Leonardo da Vinci” in design, for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream.
Contrary to similar large exhibitions and art fairs where national governments bear the cost, the costs of the Florentine Biennale are borne directly by the participating artists. Sometimes up to 4.000 or 5.000 Dollar per artist (fee, traveling, transportation and accomodation). This has given rise to criticism that the Florence Biennale makes most of its money from artists rather than from sales to the public. Based on feedback from artists he had invited, a former member of the selection committee for the inaugural 1999 exhibition criticized the high costs asked of participating artists; the jury member declined to serve on the jury again.
Surely art events as biennials and fairs are an opportunity to interact into the international stage of contemporary art and they offer not only a wonderful aesthetic experience for the visitors but also present us contemporary ethical issues to reflect on, whether they are about the deep side of the art events organization world or the thematics faced by artists in their art works. [...]Read more...
Karolina Pawliszak“I am Neither on the Earth Nor in the Sky” is a solo exhibition created by the Turkish artist, Ramazan Can. It is a continuation of the previous exhibition “Once Upon A Time” (“Evvel Zaman İşi“).
Arranged over two floors of the gallery, pieces of his art shows the artist’s journey and memories over the years. The main theme is the presentation of nomadic migration, comparing it to the act of settling birds. As a result of the resettlement policy, this freedom was taken away from the nomads.
As the title of the exhibition indicates, it relates to migration and settlement by nomads. Ramazan Can refers to his memories in an interesting way. The elements of his work serve as a transition between the past and the present.
The themes that characterise the artist’s work are: Nomadism, Shamanism and Identity Issues. The exhibition was inspired by his childhood memories of traditional rituals. Moreover, this contemporary interpretation of shamanistic motives includes elements, such as: deers, wolves and bulls, which are characteristics of nomads (formerly living in the region of his hometown, Manisa in Western Anatolia).
The exhibition is open to the public until November 18 at the new Anna Laudel Gallery (located in Kazancı Yokuşu No:45).
Karolina Pawliszak“CLIMAVORE: Seasons Made to Drift” is an exhibition, located in SALT Beyoğlu. Over the three floors that comprise the exhibition, there are various artworks that illustrate how climate change affects humans. The theme of the exhibition mainly focuses on infrastructural responses to climate events.
The authors of this up-to-date thematic exhibition are the London-based group Cooking Sections, represented by Daniel Fernández Pascual and Alon Schwabe.
As a whole, the exhibition examines selected cases that help to identify new seasons. This means that climate-related changes are becoming increasingly visible and tangibly recorded, both at sea and on land in the 21st century. The display begins with the work “Weathered”, located on the ground floor of the gallery. Through the use of wood pieces, petrified leaves and historical newspaper fragments, it depicts past droughts and famines in Anatolia.
“Unicum” as the second work, analyses the phenomenon of colonisation of the Black Sea and points out the negative effects of this process. Changes in temperature or the percentage of salinity in the water cause accelerated migration of species and the creation of new habitats.
Both “The Lasting Pond” and “Traces of Escapees” examine issues such as the shrinking of wetlands on the outskirts of Istanbul and the genetic erosion of local fish species resulting from fish farm pollution.
“Exhausted” as the last work, tells about human life in the Neolithic Age. The point of reference here is the phenomenon of fertility. An interesting parallel is made between man living in the Fertile Crescent and nowadays – including, the In vitro fertilisation procedures in contemporary Istanbul.
The works are presented in an original way. The use of light and various sounds arouses the visitor’s curiosity. The theme of the exhibition encourages reflection.
For anyone interested in the exhibition, it will remain open until 24 October. SALT Beyoğlu gallery is located in Istikal Street No:136.
“CLIMAVORE: Seasons Made to Drift” is programmed by Meriç Öner and Onur Yıldız within the framework of Our Many Europes, with additional support from the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development and the Goethe-Institut. [...]Read more...
Sabine KüperGonca Sezer
“Mendilimde”, “On my handkerchief”
5 Ekim – 5 Kasım 2021
Açılış/Opening: 05.10. 2021, 18:00-20:00
Ahmet Fetgeri Sok. 44/A Teşvikiye / İstanbul
Gonca Sezer’in Mendili: Saati Ayarlama Enstitüsünden Çıkış (scroll down for English)
‘Hayatım boyunca mendillerle uğraştım’ dedi Gonca Sezer atölyesinde ziyaret ettiğimde. Beşiktaş’tan Şişli Camii civarına yeni taşınmıştı, binasındaki Ermeni komşu kadınlar ona Türk olup olmadığını sormuşlar. Her taşın altında öykülerin çıktığı çok kültürlü bir mahalle. Sanatçı ayrıca yakınındaki Feriköy antik çarşısında dolaşmaya bayılıp orada eski dergiler ve eşyalar buluyor. Osmanlı harfleriyle yazılan bir günlüğü seçer ve onu yeni bir çalışmada kullanabileceğini düşünerek alır ve güzel zarif dairesinde bir yerde mücevher gibi saklar. Mendille olan bağında da çocukluk yıllarına kadar giden bir ilişkisi var. 1970lerde mendil koleksiyonu oluşturmaya başladı. Babası ona büyük bir Fotograf Kağıdı kutusu hediye etti Kodak Firmasından. Altı veya yedi yaşındaydı kendisi, Kutu onun boyutuna göre çok genişti. Mendilleri oraya rahat sığardı, ama küçük Gonca kolay kolay taşıyamazdı. Özellikle hazinesini ziyaretçileri göstermeye can atarken, bazen ayakları kayardı veya elleri düşürürdü kutuyu. Mendiller uçarak zemini kaplarlardı. Tekrar onları toplayıp kutusuna yerleştirirdi. Ve bugüne kadar mendillerini sakladı. Peki niye birden onları kutu hapisten kurtarıp canlandırdığını sorduğumda gizemli olarak aslında 40 senedir onlarla uğraştığını yeni anladığını söyledi ve mendileri göstermeye başladı. Hem koleksiyonundan hem de kendisi mahallenin bir kumaş üreticinin yardımı ile ürettiği sanat eserlerinden. Bir mendilde genç bir kadın sevdalısı ile görünüyor, erkek kızın ellerini tutmakta. Küçük harflerle şu cümle işlenmiştir: “sizin saatiniz benim olacak”. Ne kadar takıntılı bir ifade diye şaşırıyoruz, halbuki üretildiği zamanlarda mutlaka bir aşk ifadesiydi. Mendil hediye etmek ve hediye almak 1930larda şehirlerde bir gelenekti. Genç erkekler, sevdiği kızlara özel bir mendili hediye ederlerdi. Bazıları sadece zarif ve güzeldi, bazılarında özel mesajlara basılmış: “Sizin saatiniz benim olacak” cümlesi özellikle aklına takıldı Gonca’nın. Niye birbirinin zamanı başkasına ait olsun. Ne kadar iyelik, obsesif bir yaklaşım. Boğa onun burcu, ondan dolayı birisi çocukluğunda boğa karakteri anlatan bir medil hediye etti. Mendilde Boğa kadınını inek olarak anlatan bir yazı var, Boğa erkeği ise sefahati seven ama bağlılığı partnerine büyük bir dünya harikası olarak sunuyor. Gülüyoruz, ben de boğa burcuyum. Yapımcıya ‘İnek babandır’ demek istiyoruz, ama artık çok geç, mutlaka çoktan aramızdan ayrıldı mendil hediye etmek alışkanlığı gibi. Mendiller belirli rol modellerini yayıyordu. Sanatçı kimliği ile hayatı boyunca onunla mücadele etti Gonca Sezer. Öylece 40 senedir mendil işiyle uğraşıyor. Sergide de bu yolculuğun ustaca tasarlanan ürünlerini görebiliyoruz. Saati ayarlama enstitüsünden kapsamlı bir bitiş. Estetiği ile oynayarak mendil ve mendili andıran kumaş resimleri sunmakta. Aşk mesajlarının yanı sıra mendillerde hayvan ve çiçek motifleri de yaygındı. Örneğin hayvanat bahçesi. Aslında korkunç bir kafes sistemi, mutlu çocuklara hitap edecek şekilde sunuldu. Sanatçı, eserlerinde hayvanları izole ederek alternatif bir dünya sunuyor. Orijinal mendilde neşeli çocuklar kafesteki hayvanlara bakarken, sanat eserinde çocukları ve hayvanları birbirlerinden kopuk izole edilmiş bireyler olarak görüyoruz. Köşe’de bir dikiş resim psikologlar istismar görmüş çocuklara yaptırdığı bir resim tarzını adlandırıyor. Gonca Sezer’in mendil dünyası saklı acılar, hapsedilmiş arzular, kafesleri ve ufuktaki umutları anlatıyor bize. Tek bir mendili bir kuşa adadı. Çiçek desenlerinin düzeninden kurtulup, rengarenk bir fantezi dünyasında kendimizi kaybedebilir, onların güzelliklerinden güzel bir koku alabilir ve uykuya dalmadan derin bir nefes alabiliriz. Gonca Sezer 40 yıldır mendille uğraşıyor, esas mendille uğraşmak sanat üretmektir. Sanatçı özellikle kuşaktan kuşağa geçen rol modeller ve idealler ile ilgili eskicilerden ve antika fuarlarda okul hayatı ve tüketim kültürü ile ilgili nesneler buluyor. Fotograf defterleri veya resim defteri. Sait Faik’ Abasıyanık’ın okul zamanında kaleme aldığı ve 1934 senesinde Varlık Dergisinin 19. sayısında çıkan ‘İpekli mendil’ öyküsünden ilham aldı. Ölüm ile sonuçlanan hüzünlü bir ilk aşk öyküsü. Son cümleler: “Ölmek üzereydi. Sımsıkı kapalı yumruğunu kapıcı açtı. Bu avucun içinden bir ipek mendil su gibi fışkırdı.” Gonca Sezer’in mendili de rengarenk bir su fışkırması gibi yeni ufuklara doğru akıyor.
Sabine Küper-Büsch, Mahalla Festival Kuratörü
Gonca Sezer’s Handkerchief: Exit from the Time Regulation Institute
“I have been dealing with handkerchiefs all my life,” said Gonca Sezer when I visited her studio. She had just moved from Beşiktaş to the vicinity of Şişli Mosque, and the Armenian neighbors in her building asked her if she was Turkish. It is a multicultural neighborhood where stories emerge under every stone. The artist also loves to wander around the nearby Feriköy antique bazaar and finds old magazines and items there. She chooses a diary written in Ottoman letters and takes it, thinking she can use it in a new work, and hides it like a jewel somewhere in her beautiful elegant apartment. Her bond with the handkerchiefs also has a relationship that goes back to her childhood years. She started to create a collection of handkerchiefs in the 1970s. Her father had gifted her a large box of Photographic Paper from Kodak Company. She was six or seven years old, the Box was too large for her size. Her handkerchiefs would fit comfortably in there, but she could not carry it easily. Sometimes her feet would slip or her hands would drop the box, especially when she was eager to show visitors her treasure. The handkerchiefs would fly off, covering the floor. She would collect them again and put them in her box. And to this day she kept htis handkerchiefs. So when I asked her why she had suddenly rescued them from a box of prisons and brought them back to life, she mysteriously replied that she had only just realized that she had been dealing with them for 40 years, and began to show the handkerchiefs. Both from her collection and from the works of art she produced with the help of a fabric manufacturer in the neighborhood. A young woman in a handkerchief appears with her lover, the boy is holding the girl’s hands. The following sentence is embroidered in small letters: “Your hours will be mine”. We are amazed about what kind of obsessive expression this is, although it was definitely an expression of love when it was produced. Giving and receiving handkerchiefs was a tradition in cities in the 1930s. Young men used to present a special handkerchief to the girls they loved. Some of them were simply elegant and beautiful, and some were printed with private messages: The sentence “Your hours will be mine” especially stuck in Gonca’s mind. Why should each other’s time belong to someone else? What a possessive, obsessive approach. Taurus is her zodiac sign, so someone gave a gift that describes the character of the bull in her childhood. There is an article on the handkerchief describing the Taurus woman as a cow, while the Taurus man loves debauchery but presents devotion to his partner and is pictured as a great wonder of the world. We laugh, I’m a Taurus too. We want to say to the producer, ‘Cow is your father’, but it’s too late now, he’s definitely gone, it’s like the habit of presenting handkerchiefs. The handkerchiefs spread certain role models. Gonca Sezer struggled with her artist identity throughout her life. He has been dealing with the handkerchief business for 40 years. In the exhibition, we can see the masterfully designed products of this journey. A comprehensive finish from the clock setting institute. She presents handkerchief and handkerchief-like fabric paintings by playing with this aesthetics. Animal and floral motifs were common on handkerchiefs as well as messages of love. For example, the zoo. In fact, a terrifying cage system was presented in a way that appealed to happy children. The artist presents an alternative world by isolating animals in her works. In the original handkerchief, the cheerful children look at the animals in the cage, while in the artwork, we see the children and animals as isolated individuals separated from each other. A stitch painting in the Corner looks like the drawings psychologists encourage abused children to produce to unveil their trauma. Gonca Sezer’s world of handkerchiefs tells us about hidden pain, imprisoned desires, cages and hopes on the horizon. She dedicated a single handkerchief to a bird. We can get rid of the order of flower patterns, lose ourselves in a colorful fantasy world, smell their beauty and take a deep breath. Gonca Sezer has been dealing with handkerchiefs for 40 years, the main thing to deal with is to produce art. In particular, the artist finds objects related to school life and consumption culture in antique fairs elated to role models and ideals passed down from generation to generation. Photobooks or picture books as well serve this purpose. She was inspired by the story “Silk handkerchief” written by Sait Faik’ Abasıyanık during his school time and published in the 19th issue of Varlık Magazine in 1934. A sad first love story that ends in death. Final sentences: “He was about to die. The doorman opened his clenched fist. A silk handkerchief gushed out of this palm like water.” Gonca Sezer’s handkerchief is flowing towards new horizons like a colorful gush of water. Sabine Kuper-Büsch,
Mahalla Festival Curator
Renata Procopio“The Amazon forest is the prehistory of humanity, the paradise on Earth“, declared Salgado at the presentation to the press with his new exhibition through which he wants to awaken “consciences“. The exhibition is the result of a seven-year journey through the largest tropical forest in the world.
The work introduces a clear and militant message: “We all have to fight” and “help the Brazilian resistance movements” to stop deforestation, he said, denouncing that the government of President Jair Bolsonaro is trying to “appropriate indigenous territories and national parks” to develop new agricultural extensions.
Launched on May 20 at the Paris Philharmonic, the show will travel to cities such as London and Rome, as well as São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
“Amazonia” is undoubtedly his most personal and vindicating work. Salgado, 77, had intended to invite indigenous leaders to the opening to make their voices heard against the destruction of their habitat and its consequences for the planet, which he still hopes to do once the pandemic allows.
The journey is followed by music composed especially for the occasion by the French musician Jean-Michel Jarre, one of the pioneers of electronic music, who adds: “the exhibition could have been the work of a documentary filmmaker, but it is the work of an artist. Salgado invites us to a mystical walk, which is what we need now that we are starting to come out of this pandemic.”
Amazônia is the saga of the Indigenous communities, portrayed on the ground floor, in their daily lives, and at the same time the jungle as it has rarely been seen, photographed from aeroplanes and helicopters.
The photographer reminds us that starting with water, with the Amazon and its affluents that snake across the land for thousands of kilometres, the so-called “flying rivers” – enormous torrents of steam that form over the forest – and the torrential rains, which in Salgado‘s photographs seem capable of immersing the observer.
“The indigenous people are us. When you go to work with indigenous communities, you are with your community, the community of Homo sapiens,” he says. “But it is a protected community, which has not been violated, which has not had the influences of the great religious currents or the deformations imposed by the limits of the states, nor by the domination of capital or politics. They are free beings! They live in peace“. At another moment he affirms: “That world is close to the initial concept of what for us is paradise. Paradise exists! Imagine that you wake up and can go hunting or not, go fishing or not, sleep whenever you want” ( Extract).
The editor Taschen is publishing Amazonia in book format. And until the end of October an exhibition of the same name is on show at the City of Music in Paris. Both book and exhibition were conceived and edited by Lélia Wanick Salgado.
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Renata ProcopioThis year Art Basel Fair brings together 303 galleries from around the world, featuring artists who have contesting contemporary practices.
From June 16th to 19th, another online edition of the Art Basel fair will take place. Entitled Art Basel OVR: Portals, the event will focus on the practices of artists who question the parameters that have shaped our contemporary condition, through current and historical lenses. 303 galleries participate in the fair, 6 of them are Brazilians and part of the project Latitude – Platform for Brazilian Art Galleries Abroad, a partnership between the Brazilian Association of Contemporary Art (ABACT) and the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) . The galleries are: A Gentil Carioca, Central Galeria, Galeria Leme, Galeria Luisa Strina, Galeria Vermelho and Mendes Wood DM.
The theme of the A Gentil Carioca exhibition is ‘Time‘ and features works by artists João Modé, Laura Lima and Rodrigo Torres. In one of the works on display, by Laura Lima, entitled Bosch Picotado, the artist reproduces ‘Temptations of Santo Antão’, by Hieronymus Bosch, painted between 1945 and 1500.
Central Galeria prepared the exhibition ‘Documentos da Barbárie’, a solo project by Lourival Cuquinha, which proposes an investigation into the past that is still present, telling stories from the point of view of subjugated actors and addressing themes such as social exclusion, struggle of indigenous peoples and environment. This is the artist’s debut at Central Galeria, and the public can expect portraits of a violent contemporaneity in the universe of urgent themes in our country, such as the deterioration of the environment, the usurpation of the rights of indigenous peoples and the abandonment of the population in homeless situations.
Galeria Leme presents works by Sandra Gamarra, Jaime Lauriano and Flávio Cerqueira, in the theme ‘The margins are still inside’. The works question concepts of hegemony, especially with regard to marginalization and memory. Audiences will be able to immerse themselves in history and reflect on past uncertainties related to race and identity, learning from what has already happened to better understand what we are living through and better prepare for the future.
Galeria Luisa Strina presents the exhibition ‘La mala hora’, composed of works by artists Jorge Macchi, Magdalena Jitrik, Marcius Galan and Renata Lucas, which present the structure of space-time of the current moment. The works allow us to observe instability, fragility, drift and friction.
Galeria Vermelho brings a solo project by artist Claudia Andujar about the Yanomami indigenous peoples, who live in the Amazon rainforest. Since 1970, the artist has been fighting, through photographic art, to defend these people who are threatened by illegal mining activities. Her records show the shamanic culture of the Yanomami and, with the application of different techniques, bring images with layers, movement, drama and intimacy. The exhibition, entitled ‘A Luta dos Yanomami, has already been to São Paulo (IMS), Milan (Triennale), Paris (Fondation Cartier), and is currently in London (Barbican Centre).
Mendes Wood DM presents eight new works by the French-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa, who deconstructed the line between digital and physical realities. Reality and fiction, cause and effect, presence and absence, are the polarities that shape his work. Developing her reflection through sculptures, videos, paintings and installations, Beloufa manages to deconstruct the beliefs of the contemporary system by moving between the real and the imaginary.
Collectors and visitors can view around 800 works in different techniques and periods, and explore virtual routes and parallel programs presented by the exhibitors.
To view the exhibitions, simply enter the event platform: https://www.artbasel.com/ovr [...]Read more...
Aliette Dumont Saint PriestMustafa Horasan, Sleep of the darkness, 2015
An apartment is part of a building composed of various rooms that form a space for housing. The etymology of the word apartment comes from apartare which means apart, to separate, divide up. It’s also the name of the exhibition currently taking place in Nemlizade Sk. no52, Yeldeğirmeni, Istanbul. Exploring the topics of social fragmentation, feeling of home, getting together, « apartman » is a collective exhibition that gives meaning back to the link between space and art.
art and space
The constant reference to the notion of apartment makes sense if we stop a few seconds on the singular location of the exhibition : we happen to be in a 4 floors-old building that belongs to the architect Hayri Ödensoy and whose last floor is used by artist Bedia Ekiz since 7 years as as studio space. The location is about to be renovated but before that, the rooms are being invested by the art pieces of 23 artists under the curation of Tuba Kocakaya and Lara Lakay. The artists are participating in the construction of this big all, questioning the idea of the habitat, the quest for home, floor after floor.
The transition condition of the place reveals the current state of the reflection, as a participative concern, a collaborative preoccupation under construction, an ongoing process. What can contemporary art do for the fragmented society ? The division of the apartment, room after room, tries to engage in a conversation on that through the dialog between the 23 artists.
From the top floor the Bosporus is partly visible. The Haydarpaşa railway station is only a five minutes walk away. It is wrapped up like a parcel right now. The city is awaitin the destiny of one of its historic icons. Some of the german engineers, who constructed the railway station as part of the Bagdat railway road at the brink of the first wold war stayed at this building in Yeldeğirmeni. The exhibition is like a knocking on the door of a time tunnel, reviving diffferent shades and features reflecting shifting relationships. Or as the curators formulate: “A mass meeting, a ritual, so that out togetherness is blessed. Because where you are is my home.” The show is looking for dialogical beauty, visitors that are not steepping on the old but enrish the community with new stories and details, the “ultimate flaneur”.
a breeze of freedom in the apartman
The singularity of the exhibition definitely lies in its spatial composition : you wander through the floors, climbing up the stairs, escorted by the sound installation of Ayşe Zeynep Hatipoğlu and Gökhan Deneç titled « Cevabi Dostum, Eser Rüzgarda / The Answer My Friend, Is Rolling in the Wind ». The symbiosis between the art and the location goes up to the point that there is no plate on the side of the art pieces : the names of the artists are directly written on the wall with a pencil. I could even observe some women carefully taking pictures of the door handles, not focusing too much on the installations. Nevertheless the art works use the space as a resonance space. Just in the entrance a monochrome painting by Gökhan Deniz is reminding sound waves. The artist uses traditional Japanese İnk on Forex. The title of the work is “Shush, Don’t make noise” and reflects the attempts to silence voices in a neighborhood or a society. As the visitors explores the different floors a fine subtile breeze of freedom circumvents this order. The artists revive the space with subtile creations of 23 voices in the apartman. Each one shades light on a different spot of reality. A visit to a mountain village for a funeral, fading features of animals in a landscape, an alternative heaven as an utopian drawing landscape of a playful joyful freed space for sexuality are some of the rich inhabitats of the apartman. The exhibition offers a diverse range of productions : from photography to sculptures, installations, paintings, videos, it’s a great representation of the dynamism of the Istanbulite artistic scene.
Dinçer İşgel, Şirin, 2021
The apartment is promised to renovation after the exhibition. But one can remain optimistic, as the owner of the building, Hayri Ödensoy, said he didn’t want the future of the venue to be detached from art. We can also notice the involvement of one of the curators, Tuba Kocakaya, in the Mamut Art Project whose aim is to open Turkish art to wider masses while creating an artistic awareness for future generations. This effervescence is really promising and keeps on shedding light on this part of the Anatolian side, and the neighbourhood of Yeldeğirmeni in particular, as a fertile land for art in Istanbul.
The painting of a little rope skipping girl, her face concentrated, her hair flying in the wind, her skirt slipping, is surrounded by a broken wooden framework. The topmost part of the timber frame got out of place. It opens a crack to the outside world. It looks as if the girl just has to wake up of a dream called childhood. Her face expression isn’t cheerful, isn’t sad, it is patterned from a kind of truculence. She’s jumping, and one day she’s going to jump out of that frame for sure.
Yeşim Şahın’s exhibition “Inner Monologues” is very much about the struggle for identity and integrity. Both items are not emerging naturally and in a harmony, it is a fight against firm role models and a pressed womanhood, strangled by a childlike understanding of femininity authoritarian family models are favoring.
Yeşim Şahın is mainly working sculptural. In a mixed technique she is fusing painting, sculpturing and the usage of ready mades. The works for the “Inner Monologues” were triggered by the Gezi-uprisings in 2013. The outbreak of collective resistance in Istanbul caused a reflection of her own individual journey towards freedom as a female and as an artist.
The artist was living in Berlin until she was six years old. She is describing her father as the authoritarian patriarch and the mother as a submissive being, pressuring the daughter with a strangling love. Şahın was visiting Turkey only for holidays in her early childhood. Nobody asked her in 1974 if she wanted to return. Her mother went with the daughter to Istanbul and she found herself as a primary schoolgirl there. The father stayed in Germany. In this period only the holidays were the times, she was able to visit Berlin. When she turned thirteen years old the family returned permanently to Turkey.
“I always imagine Berlin as the cleaner, more proper place with more equality and more opportunities” she underlines. A kind of alienation stayed with Yeşim Şahın and is most visible in her works in this exhibition. A childhood dominated by decision making adults is leaving scars on the soul, especially if borders are closing the path to a place one wanted to be.
In almost all works the act of liberation is appearing. Her artworks pass a way out of the dilemma of a torn identity for Şahın. A dancing girl on a meat-mincing machine is ridiculing carefully the dualism of the past and the present, obviously resulting in a salvation of the self in an inventive form of creativity. Yeşim Şahın’s unique style is a result of a deep-rooted sadness overcome by a fine humor and a riot oriented rebellious character. The works are combining pop-art-esthetics with elements of a fantasy folk painting style that is neither German nor Turkish; it is the result of the imagination and fusion of both influences. Partly the objects could be also part of a film set of a serial of a family drama with grotesque, black comedy elements.
The artist, concentrating on personal and social relations in her works, has begun to focus on ready-mades after 2004. Sahin poses one reality against another and chooses to develop a duality through her works.
The solo exhibition is showing pieces produced between the years 2013 – 2015. Yesim Sahin’s “Inner Monologues” correspond with the event “60 years of recruitment agreement between Germany and Turkey”.
Gabriela HeermansPeople everywhere are wearing masks nowadays. Fittingly, an exhibit a museum near the Black Sea called the Baksi Museum is portraying different interpretations of the “face mask.” This museum is located in Bayraktar Village, which was formerly called Baksı. The translation of the word Baksı is “healer,” “helper,” or “guardian.” In Kyrgz Turkish, the meaning of Baksı is “Shaman.” It is speculated that up until recently the village had ties with Shamanic traditions.
Portraying masks as both an instrument and a concept, 20 artists, including Alp İşmen, Aykut Erol and Beyza Boynudelik, have contributed to this exhibit. The exhibit can be found online on the museum website until May 21, 2021.
“Childhood in the Fan” created by Simay Nightingale depicts a child wearing a mask made out of Lego pieces. The focus of childhood has shifted from toys to masks and staying indoors rather than going outside, which is why the child’s face is painted on plexiglass.
One artist, Enis Karavil, in his mask design titled “2020,313” integrates technology into his mask design. It combines the concept of past and future; the mask wearer is portrayed wearing an older style of clothing, and the Apple Watch worn on his mask, new. Additionally, Apple’s voice system means that whatever the person wearing the mask says is instantly displayed on the screen in text form.
The committee of artists stated: “Today, the mask is on the agenda more than ever before, it is in our daily life…. We try to communicate behind our masks. Masked speeches, masked meetings, masked farewells are now at the center of our lives.
That is why we wanted the mask to be dimensioned as a concept at the same time and to be the subject of creative action with its associations in artists and designers.” [...]Read more...