Controversy at Turkish museum

Controversy at Turkish museum

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Controversy at Turkish museum

This photo shows Hysteria, web-based work by Öner, one of the artists at the exhibition.

A current temporary exhibition at Proje4 El caused controversy over the works and its focus. The target of the exhibition is to raise the question of being a museum, while it also criticizes the acceleration of the number of galleries, collectors, artists and museums in the contemporary art scene. However, the exhibition raised controversy among artists, curator and museum because of the opening performance and presenting of some of the works.

While museums in Turkey try to attract more attention with the temporary exhibitions that they organize, in the museum sector this is somehow the main audience development program. The museums try to open new dimension both for themselves and their audiences. Proje4el is among those museums in Turkey, which organize temporary shows with independent curators. Among those curators, Fırat Arapoğlu, who is also academic and art historian is mainly known with his exhibitions that he organizes in galleries. Opened on April 5 and continuing until September 1, the exhibition curated by Arapoğlu, is titled “Museum inside a museum” aims to criticize “being a museum” or the the museum being a institution.

The works gathered by artists, Ali İbrahim Öcal, Alper İnce, anti-pop, Çağrı Saray, Eda Gecikmez, Elif Öner, Hülya Özdemir, İnsel İnal, Mehmet Çeper, Orhan Cem Çetin, Özlem Şimşek ve Rafet Arslan, all aim to question the museum as a institution. Each artist question the museum according to their own approach.

The opening art performance of the exhibition caused controversy, as the artist İnsel İnal preferred to show the museum catalogue as a “commodity.” İnal bought the ten year catalogue of the museum from a shop and then wanted people to tear a page and make it a paper planes out of it. “This caused a controversy and a tension between museums and artists,” said Arapoğlu noting that the museum took the paper planes and threw it to the bin. “The catalogue should have been evaluated as a commodity and have not been seen as a part a part of the museum history,” he said.

Another controversy rose over Hysteria work of Elif Öner. Öner’s work is a computer based work.

“However after the opening of the exhibition the artist heard that the computer is not at the museum.

The museum also blamed the curator,” said Arapoğlu adding that they have said the curator did not tell the museum that there will be a works like this in the museum.