Istanbul Modern presents visual arts and music in Turkey
‘Plurivocality’ examines the relationship between visual arts, music and sound in Turkey from the late Ottoman period to the present.For its 10th anniversary, Istanbul Modern last week opened a new exhibition titled “Plurivocality: Visual Arts and Music in Turkey,” which explores the many bonds between visual and auditory arts in Turkey.
At a press conference held in the opening of the exhibition, the Chair of the Board of Istanbul Modern, Oya Eczacıbaşı, said the exhibition furthered Istanbul Modern’s goal of organizing interdisciplinary exhibitions highlighting the evolutionary dynamics of modern and contemporary art in Turkey.
“In recent years, many of the world’s most influential contemporary art museums have focused their exhibitions on the relationship between music and visual arts. Istanbul Modern, however, is the first to study the interaction and evolving relationship between these disciplines in Turkey, which means that ‘Plurivocality,’ the first exhibition anywhere to examine this fertile intersection, is breaking new ground,” she said.
Curated by museum director Levent Çalıkoğlu and curator Çelenk Bafra, the exhibition examines the relationship between visual arts, music and sound in Turkey from the late Ottoman period to the present, and a selection of contemporary art in this area.
It also includes a research area providing a comprehensive inter-temporal and interdisciplinary study of the social and cultural evolutionary processes in Turkey and the effects these processes had on the visual arts and music: “Repertoire.”
Put together by Birnur Temel and Yasemin Ülgen Saray from Istanbul Modern, under the advisory of Alper Maral, and with contributions from experts in the field, “Repertoire” conveys the visual and musical work created in Turkey over a period of 300 years. Located at the entrance of the exhibition hall where “Plurivocality” is hosted, the “Repertoire” section is a product of research on processes developed in the first stages of the Westernization of the Ottoman Empire through the early Republican period. Research ranges from the musical tones of the abstract art of the 1950s to the popularized content of the 1980s. By revealing the reverberations of these processes in today’s artistic productions, both through breaks and continuities, “Repertoire” also provides the historical backdrop to the contemporary artworks in the exhibition.
In the main exhibition area, “Plurivocality” presents a selection of current paintings, sculptures, videos and installations by artists of diverse generations, exploring the relationship between the visual arts and music/sound in Turkey. The exhibition features artists that combine audio and visual elements and enrich their artistic practice by drawing on both disciplines. It is comprised of contemporary artwork that uses sound and music as themes or as metaphors, or treats them as sources of inspiration for forms or concepts.
Throughout the course of the exhibition, Istanbul Modern will be organizing a program of events addressing a wide range of music genres and includes concerts, performances, panel discussions and talks with exhibition artists and music experts, as well as workshops prepared by the education department based on the art in the exhibition. The Istanbul Modern Store will also be offering sound- and music-related technology products, CDs of music in the exhibition and other music related products.
Artists from diverse generations and artistic styles
In 2012, Istanbul Modern commissioned a musical composition for “Blue Symphony” featured in the exhibition “50 Years of Urban Walls: A Burhan Doğançay Retrospective.” Thus, for the first time in Turkey, a musical piece was created drawing inspiration from a painting. Composed by Kamran İnce and performed by pianist Hüseyin Sermet, the composition premiered at Istanbul Modern. In “Blue Symphony,” Doğançay uses pictorial elements as musical tools. In the exhibition, viewers will be able to experience the painting together with a recording of this performance.
Among works exhibited for the first time in Turkey are: Nevin Aladağ’s video installation “Session,” Hale Tenger’s “Balloons on the Sea,” Ergin Çavuşoğlu’s “Quintet Without Borders,” Erinç Seymen’s trilogy “Performance for a Poem,” and mentalKLINIK’s sculpture “FrenchKiss” in which two French horns are bound to each other, pointing to the processes of communication and interaction between people.
Semiha Berksoy’s original approach to art and multifaceted personality, which match up so well with the exhibition “Plurivocality,” can be experienced in a room reserved for the artist where viewers can look at scenes from her life, listen to an aria in her own voice and look at her paintings of sound and music.
Others include Fikret Atay, Hussein Chalayan, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Cevdet Erek, Borga Kantürk, Servet Koçyiğit, Füsun Onur, Ferhat Özgür, Sarkis, Merve Şendil and Vahit Tuna.
“Plurivocality” will continue through Nov. 27 at Istanbul Modern.