Turkey launches 'Plan B' project for Venice Biennale
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 4/27/2011 12:00:00 AM |
Turkish sculptor Ayşe Erkmen, who will represent Turkey at the 54th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, launched her work, titled 'Plan B,' at a press conference Tuesday. In her project, Erkman will turn an exhibition room into a water treatment plant, showing the mechanism’s internal workings and drawing attention to the process of change
Highlighting processes of transformation and Venice’s connection to water, Turkey’s Ayşe Erkman will feature at the Venice Biennale 54th International Art Exhibition with her work, “Plan B.”
“Making a poetic reference to the possibilities of change, the ‘Plan B’ project also criticizes enthusiasm for unsustainable and short-term changes in complicated systems and structures that surround us,” Erkman said Tuesday during a press conference at the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, or İKSV, Nejat Eczacıbaşı building, to launch her project.
Erkmen, a sculptor, will turn one of the rooms of Arsenale, the main space for the biennale, into a water treatment plant.
The Turkish pavilion of the biennale, which will run from June 4 until Nov. 27, will be curated by Fulya Erdemci and New Zealander critic and curator Danae Mossman, who has worked with Erkmen for previous projects.
Erkman said the “Plan B” project would enable viewers to see how mechanisms of inner space operate and added that the project would question the relation between the micro and macro layers of systems.
Erdemci said the Venice Biennale was very different from other biennales as it was at the top in terms of scale and experience.
“The Venice Biennale is a big undertaking that will host 210 events and projects, and that makes everyone excited. It is a cosmos where global economic systems, politics and contemporary culture mingle, and it is also an entertaining public area for the global world,” Erdemci said.
İKSV Executive Board Chairman Bülent Eczacıbaşı said Turkey had organized projects abroad since 2004 in order to promote its cultural variety and contemporary productions in various artistic branches.
“In this context, İKSV has been undertaking the organization of the Venice Biennale Turkish Pavillion since 2007. We think that it is a very big opportunity for our country’s artists to take part in this biennale,” Eczacıbaşı said.
Eczacıbaşı also thanked Fiat, the sponsor of Turkish pavilion at the 54th and 55th Venice Biennale Turkish Pavillion, the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the Promotion Fund of the Prime Ministry.
[HH] ‘Plan B’ project
“Plan B” draws on the ineluctable and complex relationship Venice has with water. Her project transforms a room inside the Arsenale into a complex water purification unit where machines perform as sculptures, encompassing the audience inside the filtration process which eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal.
Each component of the filtration unit has been separated out, humorously disseminating the machinery throughout the room then reconnecting the elements with extended pipes. Erkmen choreographs the elegant industrial forms to draw attention to the process of transformation, at the end of which, the purified water is returned to the canal: a futile, yet courageous gesture against the overwhelming scale of the canal and the ocean.
Formally, Erkmen's practice often comments on minimalism's relationship between the industrial form and the body. Here, the installation generates a visceral experience for viewers who are embodied within the mechanism of transformation.
“Plan B” abstractly conveys systems and processes that we are part of daily: blood circulating through the body, capital flowing through borders, the mechanisms of authority, the supply of natural resources. While proffering a poetic reference to the potentiality of change, the work is simultaneously a subtle, humorous critique of the euphoria for unsustainable short-lived solutions within the complex systems and structures that surround us.
A book will also be published as part of Erkmen’s “Plan B” project. The book, which will be designed by Bülent Erkmen, will include Mossman and Erdemci’s conversations with Erkmen, and is being published by Yapı Kredi Publications. It will also be distributed to bookstores in Istanbul and Europe.
The Turkish Pavillion at the 54th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition will open to visitors on June 4 and continue until Nov. 27. In addition to the Turkish contingent, the artists of 89 countries will take part in the biennale.
[HH] A distinguished name in contemporary art
Ayşe Erkmen graduated from Mimar Sinan University Department of Sculpture in 1977. She has participated in the second and fourth Istanbul Biennials; the Münster Sculpture Project; the Shanghai, Berlin, Kwangju, Sharjah, and SCAPE Art in Public Space biennials, as well as the Folkestone and Echigo Tsumari Triennials. A resident of Istanbul and Berlin, Erkmen has been teaching at the Münster Kunstakademie in Germany since 2010.
Erkmen's works are exhibited at many national and international galleries and museums. She is one of a distinguished number of figures in the international contemporary art world, and her sculptural practice spans mediums such as installation, photography, animation and intervention, where she often manipulates the surface of a space to reveal what is already present, but may be obscured.
While her sculptural practice does not invent forms, Erkmen finds and reinterprets, always drawing on the specifics of that locale. Often space or objects are borrowed in order to have them perform as sculptures, and almost all of her works are temporary installations that sensitize us to our surroundings and the structures and situations that shape them. At the conclusion of an exhibition, all that remains is a trace.