A bench in New York park is a work by Turkish artist

A bench in New York park is a work by Turkish artist

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
A bench in New York park is a work by Turkish artist

Can Altay’s work ‘Inner Space Station’ in New York is a territorial marker in the form of a circular bench.

A group of artists from Turkey and the US, who wish to reach wider audiences and try to make a difference in art, display their work in streets, parks, hotels, subways and disused places.

Protocinema, founded by Mari Spirito, is a non-profit experiment in making exhibitions in New York and Istanbul, and provides opportunities for emerging and established artists from all regions to create new work and exhibit existing work in a variety of contexts that are open to the public and accessible to a wide range of individuals.

Within the scope of this formation, foreign artists Dominique Gonzalez Foerster and Tristan Bera have previously opened exhibitions in Istanbul previously and Turkish artist Ahmet Öğüt has opened an exhibit in New York. This time, Protocinema is presenting Can Altay’s “Inner Space Station, 2013,” which is a territorial marker in the form of a circular bench, installed in cooperation with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Art in the Parks program.


Can Altay. AA photo

Altay’s work, which will be displayed until June 30, draws on the limits of public space by creating a temporary inner space that is a simple gesture towards introspection.

The installation is a circle, approximately two meters in diameter, made of concrete blocks, just high and deep enough to make a quiet park bench. Regardless of the direction one is facing while viewing or sitting on the sculpture, there is the unavoidable aspect of positioning oneself either on the inside or on the outside. This simple gesture of proposing a boundary as a resting place expands to wider philosophical concerns of what is permitted, where and when. How is one’s behavior altered in this and other situations? Can this space, created by Altay, become an introspective space? These questions are among the artist’s long-standing concerns.

Many things, many people

Speaking about his work, Altay said that it was more different to display his works in a public area than displaying them in a gallery. He said that “many things” and “many people” were together public areas, adding, “The work requests a kind of ‘dwelling in,’ rather than a ’gazing upon.’ Viewers have to go inside to fully appreciate the alternating perception.”

Positioned between art and architecture, “Inner Space Station” investigates the functions, meaning, organization and reconfigurations of shared civic public spaces. Altay attends to the behavioral experience of individuals in public and semipublic areas as both subject and material, crafting poetic alternatives and supplements to the city’s existing urban fabric.

The exhibition is accompanied by a Protocinema poster campaign for the work. The posters reflect on the artist’s processes of a making a public artwork, as well as making a work public.