Curatorial exhibit, a first at fair

Curatorial exhibit, a first at fair

Melis Alphan ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Curatorial exhibit, a first at fair

Cecilia Paredes - Siren in the sea of roses

Celebrating its sixth anniversary in 2011, Turkey’s most comprehensive contemporary art event, Contemporary Istanbul, is hosting a “curatorial exhibition” for the first time ever this year.

In the exhibition, a selected number of artists from the local and international art sphere are showcasing their work.

The aim of the exhibition, curated by Selin Turam, is to illuminate contemporary issues of art and culture and, at the same time, present an interpretation of how the subject/object of art has evolved within a fast-changing environment. The exhibition also attempts to explore how the contemporary art scene has dealt with the perpetual motion of the narrative.

It views the contemporary as a fluid practice in which perception, collective memory and sensation emerge as ways to comprehend and shape the temporary intellect, to a point where they form hybrid interactions.

Contemporary culture has acknowledged the staging of these hybrid structures, almost to the point of producing a layering effect where the objects have become transparent. This transparency allows everything to be confronted in an instant, leaving the audience with the legacy of tension between spaces and places; the tangible and the intangible, of here and there.

Turam is just 23 years old but she does not like to be described as a “young curator.”

Problems of art explored

She said the exhibition as part of Contemporary Istanbul was a platform where contemporary art problems were explored, researched and commented upon.

“Normally, one does not come across such commentaries in an art fair, but we are starting to see similar trends all around the globe.”

The works that are being showcased in the exhibition were not chosen for promotional purposes. On the contrary, they were chosen with an academic and investigative eye. The works point at the evolution of today’s society and art works; they are a look at the interaction of public and personal space in this mobilized era we are in and function as a commentary on how information shapes cultural heritage. The event provides research about the interpretation of public space that is not personal.

Sixty different works from 30 different galleries will be featured at the exhibition, and Turam said an exhibition within an art fair was quite different from an exhibition in a museum.

“Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind is that all the art works in the fair are for sale. At this point, one might think that the identity of the curator and the promoter come close to converging in a dangerous way. But this is a false thought. In structures where selling is a part of the exhibition, curatorial contributions and commentary can be seen as an influence on the commercial part of the work,” she said.

Turam also said these types of events had the power to determine the temporary and the permanent based on the amount and quality of the participants in today’s fast-moving art industry.

Obviously, a curatorial exhibition within an art fair will make visitors think and question a bit more; in this way, visitors won’t just be visiting an ordinary art fair, they’ll be going to a level where they can comment on contemporary art.

Contemporary Istanbul started yesterday and runs until Nov. 27.