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                                    © Photo: Ardan Özmenoğlu

Ardan Özmenoğlu: I am not a Biennial Artist

Curated by Katerina Valdivia Bruch

Opening: September 12th, 2011
September 12th - October 8th , 2011


Inspired by a rejection letter from the organisers of this year's Istanbul Biennial, the artist Ardan Özmenoğlu created works for her latest solo exhibition I am not a Biennial Artist. The exhibition depicts a critical positioning towards the biennialisation of the art world. It is also a statement in itself, as her work will be presented a few days before the opening of the biennial.

In this exhibition, the artist focuses on the art interested audience that gives attention to biennials and travels around the world to attend these art blockbusters. Even smaller cities cannot resist the temptation of having a biennial. However, who cares about the city where the biennial is presented? Common people don't even know that this event actually exists. But, for a government, a biennial is a motor of cultural tourism that brings money to the city in which it takes place. A similar idea is behind becoming European Capital of Culture, as it was Istanbul last year.

But, what happens to those artists who don't participate in biennials? Do they have a chance to survive in a system of arts entertainment, in which well-known artist names - and not their works - become its main attractions? Do young artists have the chance to get public attention without being part of this organised network?

The exhibition I am not a Biennial Artist concentrates on Turkish popular culture and mass-mediated iconic images. For instance, the artist exaggerates typical cultural icons that have been spread by Turkish travel agencies and cultural ministries abroad. In her characteristic post-it pop art collages, Ardan shows how Turkey is seen in advertising: a striking country, between modern and contemporary culture, but still conscious about its traditions. According to this, I am not a Biennial Artist displays what people might see when they come to visit the city that hosts the biennial.

In some way, we can imagine the exhibition as a large bazaar, in which we might find doner kebab sellers and expect Seda Sayan (Turkish Oprah Winfrey) telling us stories about her country with oiled wrestlers and a group of man dancing around. All these characters, including the evil eye and the popular mini buses, are part of a colourful exhibition, that plays with kitsch and the dynamics of mass communication. The exhibition presents both urban and traditional culture in a country that is in constant change, but claims about its ancestry. It is more a question about what Turkey really is and, more than that, how Turkish people present themselves to the world.

Address :

Ekav Art Gallery
Askerocağı Street No.15 Süzer Plaza,
Süzer Art Center, Ritz Carlton Hotel,
Gümüşsuyu, Istanbul
Turkey

[ exhibition text EN ]
 
 
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