‘The Art of Turks’ in German exhibition
ISTANBULA new group exhibition opened on Aug. 22 at the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Dusseldorf focuses on the evolution of Turkish art, from the final years of the Ottoman Empire until the present day. The artists list starts with photographers Abdullah Fréres and Osman Hamdi Bey and also includes foreign artists, architects and intellectuals, dead or living, many of them having lived in the first half of the 20th century.
Titled “The Art of the Turks,” the exhibition is curated by Manuel Graf and Hans Jürgen Hafner.
Based on specially conceived artistic contributions, historical and current artworks, publications and documents, lectures and talks, the exhibition imagines a modern art of the Turks from today’s perspective.
“The Art of the Turks” is the draft of a hypothetical state art that is simultaneously the collection of concrete, historical and contemporary forms of artistic expression and the subjective claims made on art. It establishes a point of convergence between the most different claims made on art while revealing at the same time the impossibility of such a convergence.
The show also focuses on renowned artist Bedri Baykam’s “San Francisco Manifesto” from 1984. In that year, Baykam had distributed a manifesto at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on June 30 and July 1.
He heavily criticized the museum, whose show “The Human Condition” was only bringing to light western contemporary artists as usual. He went on to write another long statement, “Modern Art History is a Western fait Accompli” (1985), and a whole book, “Monkey’s Right to Paint” (1994). In 1989, Baykam distributed a second manifesto in Paris at the Centre Pompidou in the name of Turkish artists during the opening if the exhibition “Les Magiciens de la Terre.”
Along with Baykam, the artists in the exhibition include Abdullah Frères, Haluk Akakçe, Erdağ Aksel, Fikret Atay, Rudolf Belling, Adnan Çoker, Manuel Graf, Hans-Jürgen Hafner, Osman Hamdi Bey, Diango Hernández, Clemens Holzmeister, Kiron Khosla, Hans Poelzig, Berthold Reiß, Bruno Taut, Yazbukey and Ahmet Ziya.
The exhibition will continue until Nov. 8.