Istanbul Biennal abandons plans for public exhibition
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Organizers of the upcoming 13th Istanbul Biennial have been forced by circumstances to abandon their plans to stage art exhibitions in public areas like Gezi Park.Organizers of the upcoming 13th Istanbul Biennial have been forced by circumstances to abandon their plans to stage art exhibitions in public areas like Gezi Park, Taksim Square and elsewhere, according to the show’s main curator.
“That’s why we have decided that the exhibitions and projects in public areas [may not help] these exhibitions, and that’s why we have decided not to make these exhibitions in those areas,” Fulya Erdemci said.
As such, the biennial team has been forced to opt for private venues for the exhibitions.
Earlier the biennial teams had announced that it would use public buildings that were temporarily left vacant by urban transformation as exhibition venues.
“These may include courthouses, schools, military structures or post offices, former transportation hubs like train stations and ex-industrial sites such as warehouses and dockyards, as well as the contested Taksim Square and Gezi Park. The hallmarks of current urbanism, such as shopping malls, hotels and office-residential towers, are being considered sites for artistic interventions as well,” the organizers had said in a written statement.
Following a change in the dates of the event, Erdemci said the biennial, whose title this year is “Mom, am I barbarian?” could be visited between Sept. 14 Oct. 20 at Antrepo No.3, Galata Greek Primary School, ARTER, SALT Beyoğlu and 5533.
The 13th Istanbul Biennial will focus on the theme of public space as a political forum, according to the press release sent by the biennial team. Entrance to the event will be free of charge.
Public space as a public forum
“Mom, am I Barbarian?” underscores the relationship between poetry, literature, poetics, and art. The term “barbarian” also signifies the novel and yet unknown languages people are to learn or discover in order to understand “the other” and construe “the world to come.” Focusing on the theme of public space as a political forum, the exhibition will include works that question forms of contemporary democracy; challenge current spatio-economic politics; problematize notions of civilization and barbarity, and explore the role of art in this context through innovative and unorthodox languages.
The exhibition venues and list of participating artists for the 13th Istanbul Biennial, which is being organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) and sponsored by Koç Holding, will be announced in the forthcoming days.
The Hürriyet Daily News had previously reported that according to Erdemci, the biennial’s concept would serve as a matrix to generate ideas and develop practices that question contemporary forms of democracy, challenge current models of spatio-economic politics, the problems that arrive from given concepts of civilization and barbarity, and most importantly, highlight the role of art in this context.
Questioning what the reintroduction of the concept of “barbarian” as a reflection of the “absolute other” reveals in contemporary society, Erdemci referred to art’s potential to engender new positions and construct new subjectivities for the sake of creating a space for society’s weakest and most excluded sections by destabilizing dominant and deep-seated discourses.
Erdemci also said the Istanbul Biennial aimed to highlight the potential of public domain discourse through an examination of spatial justice, art in the public domain and art-market relations. Aspiring to open new avenues for thought and imagination, the Istanbul Biennial will activate social engagement in the public to generate the possibility of reimagining the concept of the “public.”
13th Istanbul Biennal exhibit: Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia, the prologue exhibition of the 13th Istanbul Biennial, was held at TANAS, Berlin with the participation of Jimmie Durham, Freee (Dave Beech, Andy Hewitt and Mel Jordan), LaToya Ruby Frazier, Amal Kanawy, Lux Lindner, José Antonio Vega Macotela, Cinthia Marcelle, Şener Özmen, Proyecto Secundario Liliana Maresca, Christoph Schäfer and Mierle Laderman Ukeles