Turkish abstract and conceptual art in Zurich

Turkish abstract and conceptual art in Zurich

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish abstract and conceptual art in Zurich

Hot Spot Istanbul presents paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, installations and environments in four floors.

“Hot Spot Istanbul,” the first comprehensive overview exhibition of Turkish abstract and conceptual art in Switzerland, is on display for art lovers at Museum Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich. The exhibition, curated by Dorothea Strauss, will continue until Sept. 22.

Organized in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Zurich Culture and Promotion Attache’s Office, the exhibition features more than 80 works by 21 artists from over 60 years.

The project’s starting point is the development of Turkish abstract concrete painting since the end of the 1940s and the impact that it has had on a young generation of artists who are active all around the world in a broad network. Three publications have also been released to coincide with the exhibition.

Eminent Turkish artists whose works are being exhibited at the Hot Spot Istanbul include Can Altay, Adnan Çoker, Nejad Melih Devrim, Burhan Doğançay, Serhat Kiraz, Renée Levi, Ahmet Öktem, Ahmet Oran, Mübin Orhon, Abdurrahman Öztoprak, Seçkin Pirim, Sarkis, Nejat Satı, Arslan Sükan, Erdem Taşdelen, Canan Tolon, Seyhun Topuz, Ömer Uluç, Ebru Uygun, Ekrem Yalçındağ and Fahrelnissa Zeid.

The exhibition also features special guests from Museum Haus Konstruktiv’s collection, including Verena Loewensberg, Max Bill, Fritz Glarner, Camille Graeser, Hans Hinterreiter and Richard Paul Lohse.

For some years, a very special, energetic and lively art scene has been establishing itself in Turkey, especially in Istanbul. The city generates a productive atmosphere for creative forces.

Museum Haus Konstruktiv has set itself the goal of bringing Istanbul’s vitality to Zurich, focusing on Turkish art history, as well as contemporary art, on the basis of selected examples. This exhibition project is based on close cooperation with artists, collections and private individuals who provided the museum with substantial support for the realization of this exhibition project.

Hot Spot Istanbul is shown on four floors and subdivided into five different sections. In group projects and solo exhibitions, the exhibition presents paintings, drawings, sculptures, videos, installations and environments, while addressing the subtle gray areas between abstract, concrete and conceptual art.

The earliest painting is by Fahrelnissa Zeid from the year 1947, and the most recent works were conceived directly for the exhibition by Renée Levi, Ebru Uygun, Arslan Sükan, Ekrem Yalçındağ and Can Altay.

Works by pioneers of post-1945 Turkish abstract art are also featured. The exhibition presents artists from the middle generation, who already left Turkey long ago, or who live in two places.

There are works by internationally networked minimalists, as well as by very young artists who, like the pioneers, gather their impressions from all over.

“What is Turkish art anyway? We have repeatedly asked ourselves this question, together with our project partners. One thing we agree on is that Turkish art today is just as heterogeneous as Swiss art or any other national attribution of art, and that it can nevertheless be illuminating to give thought to the substance of super ordinate roots. Therefore, the title does not focus on a country, but deliberately on a city, which is a construct of its past and its present. A hot spot is a focal point, a hub. Istanbul is also just as much of a hot spot for art,” Museum Haus Konstruktiv wrote on its website about the exhibition.

“Thus, in Hot Spot Istanbul, many individual positions can be discovered, and each section of the exhibition claims autonomy. When observed in context, relationships between art history and the present day, as well as between different cultural influences, become clear. This is because it is primarily artists who have been, and are, frequently able to anticipate things with their works, thus bypassing not only the linear timeline, but also supposedly established cultural or art-historical attributions.”

Art in the public spaces

Hot Spot Istanbul also includes an outdoor project. As part of the project “Gasträume” (Guest Rooms) 2013, the artist Ekrem Yalçındağ has made an outdoor installation on the street Rennweg in Zurich. This is a result of cooperation between Museum Haus Konstruktiv and KiöR, Zurich’s work group for art in public spaces.

Also as part of the project, Museum Haus Konstruktiv invited Pari Dukovic to come to Istanbul in order to photograph the participating artists for the exhibition book. However, some of the artists live in other parts of the world, and others are already deceased: For each of these artists, Dukovic has presented an existing portrait in a new and unexpected context.