British artist focuses on Gürün Han
Nelson, a regular visitor to Istanbul for the past 30 years, this time responds to Gürün Han in Sultanahmet, originally built in 1954. This new site-aware commission occupies the entire seventh floor and combines Nelson’s signature constructed spaces, as well as video, for an experience that reflects global shifts in intimate locales.
Gürün Han, in its time, was a center of the city’s textile wholesale industry, a time of great modernist growth and enterprise. Merchandisers came from Anatolia, rented these small shops, selling to buyers worldwide. This growth continued up until the economic crisis of 1999 that left over 300 of the shops empty.
During the past few years, Nelson has been capturing video footage from the back seat of taxicabs on multiple journeys throughout Istanbul. This footage documents Nelson’s trips to landmarks in the city, each representing a certain vision of its urban history, both ancient and recent.
Filmed sometimes in the day, other times at night, Nelson directs the viewer’s focus to the journey, the passing monuments and crowds, as well as capturing the sensation of not being taken to where you asked the driver to take you, a familiar sensation.
Today quiet places have even more reminiscence, in and out of marketplace and daily routines, places to consider our own journeys, our own conflicting and competing narratives.
The exhibition, which opened on May 2, will run through June 1.