Turkish Pavilion opens at Venice Biennale

Turkish Pavilion opens at Venice Biennale

Turkish Pavilion opens at Venice Biennale

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy opened the Turkish Pavilion on April 20 at the Venice Biennale 59th International Art Exhibition

The biennale started with preview days for professionals before opening to the general public on April 23. A special opening event was held on April 20, hosted by Bülent Eczacıbaşı, board chairman for the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), for the opening of the Pavilion of Turkey at the Venice Biennale.

The Pavilion of Turkey, which presents an installation by influential artist Füsun Onur titled “Once Upon A Time,” is located at its long-term venue at the Arsenale. The venue has been secured for a 20-year duration from 2014 to 2034 by the İKSV.

This year some 600,000 art lovers from all over the world are expected to visit the Venice Biennale, which is considered one of the most important art events.

“The Venice Biennale, the common language and global brand of culture and art, has been taking place for over 120 years. As a country, Turkey has been participating in these events for 31 years. The unifying power of culture and art is very important. In this context, the Venice Biennale actually plays a beautiful role. We will continue to increase the support we give to culture and art,” Ersoy said. 

“At this year’s Venice Biennale, Füsun Onur tells us a magical story about living together and surviving together in her unique language. I hope that viewers, who will visit our exhibition after a long period of living under pandemic conditions, will follow this naive but powerful story with pleasure,” Eczacıbaşı said.

The curator of the pavilion is currently Bige Örer, who is also the director of the Istanbul Biennale and contemporary art projects at İKSV.

As one of Turkey’s pioneering contemporary artists, Onur’s works deal with the potentials of space, time, rhythm and form that are inherent in simple, everyday materials charged with narrative and oblique autobiographical references.

In her prolific career that has spanned over half a century, Onur defied boundaries between painting and sculpture, becoming a pivotal figure in introducing avant-garde into the artistic canon in Turkey in the early 1970s.

Mice and cats are the main characters of Onur’s work, which she has been preparing for two years without ever leaving her home during the pandemic period. 

By bending and shaping metal wires for the Turkish Pavilion, Onur created scenes that present different characters and various aspects of the lives of these characters. Each scene depicted on the clouds, spreading over the exhibition space, came together to form a holistic narrative.

The 59th Venice Biennale hosts exhibitions from 81 countries at different points in the city.

The event, curated by Cecilia Alemani, was postponed last year due to the pandemic. It features the works of more than 200 artists from 58 countries and can be visited between April 23 and Nov. 27.