Street art comes to museum
The exhibition at Pera Museum is hosting more than 20 selected artists from different generations and disciplines. It brings together the current dynamics of the street, different styles and aesthetic. notions.Istanbul’s Pera Museum is hosting, for the first time in Turkey, an exhibition on one of the art world’s hottest topics, Graffiti and Street Art. Artists from all over the world are being exhibited, providing interesting examples examining the concept of “graffiti” and “bringing the street to the museum,” as well as creating a platform for discussion and debate.
Hosting more than 20 artists from the United States, Germany, France, Japan, as well as Turkey, the exhibition, curated by Roxane Ayral, will include works by distinguished names from different generations and disciplines such as Futura, Carlos Mare, Cope 2, Turbo, Wyne, JonOne, Tilt, Mist, Psyckoze, Craig Costello (aka KR), Herakut, Logan Hicks, C215, Suiko, Evol, Gaia, Tabone, Funk and No More Lies, along with selected photographs from the archive of leading artists Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant and Hugh Holland.
Global art movement
Graffiti and street art have moved out of their underground era and are no longer recognized as vandalism, but rather as a global art movement.
Curator Ayral, who lived in France for 13 years, said she was inspired by graffiti artists there. Ayral wanted to bring to Istanbul the concept of graffiti as self-expression, where it has been labelled “political art” since the 80’s.
“Since the 1990’s, the appreciation for graffiti and street art in Turkey has increased quite significantly and with this exhibition graffiti and street art are being presented in a museum setting for the first time striving to carry into the present both the scope and the cultural diversity of a phenomenon with a rich history that has influenced not only a small artistic circle, but several generations. The exhibition offers a historic review with its selection of international and native artists, by bringing together the current dynamics of the street, different styles and aesthetic notions, the exhibition addresses this art movement through an interdisciplinary approach, which also incorporates photography and music,” she said in a written statement.
As artists create an international value through their increasingly diversified works of different styles and techniques, this art movement evolves from being an individual struggle for existence and addresses larger masses by embracing social issues. Expanding its audience as a result of the subculture they create through music and dance, graffiti and street art are not just artistic forms of expression, but they also manifest a certain way of living.
As society embraces graffiti and street art, museums, galleries and publications respond to the increasing demand. Receiving more importance and categorized now within a more professional context as Contemporary Urban Art, graffiti and street art continue to be a hot topic of debate among art circles.
One of the graffiti artists, Fernando Carlo, a 46-year-old New Yorker, who also goes by the nickname Cope 2 said he wanted to bring a flavor of what he has been doing on the streets of New York for the past 35 years.
“I wanted to bring it to the people in Istanbul so they can see this is what we did in the early 80’s. This is how it started,” he said. Graffiti art took off in New York in the 70’s and is recognized as the birthplace of the art form.
Turkish graffiti artists, 26-year-old Atakan “Funk” Özdemir and 33-year-old Tabone have opposing styles but work together. Özdemir says his style is “new school” and futuristic while Tabone’s style is classic. “It is nice to see two different styles together,” they said. Tabone also pointed out the difficulties of working in Istanbul. “There is a political fear of everything in Turkey,” he said adding, “That’s why it is more difficult to work in Istanbul.”
The exhibition “Language of the Wall: Graffiti / Street Art,” which opened on Aug. 13, will continue until Oct. 5 throughout the city with the contribution of the municipalities of Beşiktaş and Beyoğlu.