Controversy over censorship spreads

Controversy over censorship spreads

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Controversy over censorship spreads

Artist, Bubi (David Hayon) says, Istanbul Modern refused to show his work at Gala.

The controversy over alleged censorship at Istanbul Modern is spreading. Refusal to display an artist’s piece raised the eyebrows of other artists, who on Dec. 27 entered the museum and hung banners that read: “There is censorship in this museum.”

“First Istanbul Modern requested a work, without telling me any concept. They told me that they wanted to exhibit the work during the gala night and then make the work a part of the exclusive catalogue,” Bubi (David Hayon) told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Istanbul Modern told Hayon he was “free” to create what he wanted, he said. Upon this request Hayon created a large seat with a bed pan in the middle of it.

“With this work I have criticized the general museum idea which came from 1900s,” said Hayon, adding that he criticized the “sacred” idea of visiting a museum. “My aim was not to be political.”

However, things did not go as Hayon planned. The museum refused to collect the work and did not exhibit it. “It is not important whether they like it. There is something more important than that,” Hayon said.

The approach was more like a censorship process, according to Hayon. “The work was found contradictious and inconvenient.”

Later, Istanbul Modern requested Hayon to change the work. “However, this was a later phase of the incident,” he said.

The museum’s decision
Hayon said the problem was not a commercial concern. “It is a fact that every work, which detaches from the artist, becomes commercialized and it becomes a capital.” He thinks the museum made a decision on behalf of the collector. “With not taking my work to the gala night or not showing it to the collector, the museum made a decision on behalf of the collector. How can a museum decide something like this?”

This is also a problem of approaching the collector, according to Hayon. “This is judging the collector,” he said, adding that creating a work “to sell” or “sellable” was not creating shiny, tiny, beautiful things.
“This would not make the artwork more sellable,” Hayon said. This was like judging the collector, implying “they do not understand this work,” which is inappropriate, said Hayon.

He also criticized the approach of Plastic Artists Institution. “Because they have said that this is not censorship, which it is,” he said. Hayon quit the institution and refused to be a part of it after this approach.