HATICE KuBRA – ‘Plurivocality’ offers something for every visitor, curator says

‘Plurivocality’ offers something for every visitor, curator saysGeoffrey Chaucer, the father of English literature, is maybe best known for his collection of 24 stories, “The Canterbury Tales,” written from the perspective of pilgrims on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket in Canterbury, Kent. As you pass to each new story, you hear a tale told by a different pilgrim in a different tone and context, at some points giving a feeling as if you are opening nesting Russian dolls.

Though it is hard to decide whether the narrator is Chaucer himself or the pilgrims, you know the entire text is reflective of Chaucer’s skills as an author, where you can hear one voice, the voice of Chaucer’s imagination, within these multiple voices.If you want to experience a similar feeling of hearing one voice among others, Istanbul Modern is offering a rare chance to hear the voice of music in the “plurivocality” of different music genres, artworks and artists through a brand-new exhibition unveiled as part of the museum’s 10th year celebrations.

Titled “Plurivocality: Visual Arts and Music in Turkey” and on view until Nov. 27, the show is first of its kind in Turkey in terms of plunging into the intimate relationship between the visual arts, music and sound from the late Ottoman era to date.

Works by 17 contemporary artists, including Burhan DoIanay, Semiha Berksoy, Fusun Onur, Huseyin aIlayan and Sarkis, are featured in the exhibition, which also hints at the particular social and individual roles that music plays in artistic processes.Apart from the artworks it includes, “Plurivocality” also presents a research area, “Repertoire,” which provides a comprehensive historical background to the intersections of music and visual arts in Turkey within a period spanning over 300 years.

Connections between socio-cultural history, visual arts, music examinedInstalled at the entrance to the exhibition, the research area is a central part of “Plurivocality,” as it endeavors to examine “Turkey’s socio-cultural history from the late Ottoman period to the 1980s through the ways it was reflected in music and the visual arts,” Levent alIkoIlu, the director of Istanbul Modern, underlined in an article he wrote for the exhibition catalogue.alIkoIlu, who co-curated “Plurivocality” with elenk Bafra, told Sunday’s Zaman in an interview at the exhibition venue that “[with ‘Repertoire’ we found that] different artists [from different periods] produced similar works, pointed out similar problems, painted portraits of other artists, and influenced each other,” referring to the interaction between artists throughout history.

The idea to launch such an exhibition investigating the bond between the visual arts and music came about in 2011, as it had still been an untouched area in Turkey, in contrast with other parts of the world, according to alIkoIlu.With music as its central focus, the exhibition also refers to the diversity of musical contexts.

Through Nevin AladaI’s three-channel video installation, “Session,” for instance, viewers witness the interplay between the urban space and different percussion instruments, including a tambourine and darbuka, in a city of the United Arab Emirates. Or in another video installation, “Quintet Without Borders,” the key result of a multifaceted joint project between Ergin avuIoIlu and Bulgarian director Konstantin Bojanov, five Romani musicians, including late clarinet player Selim Sesler, perform their instruments in different locations around the small border town of KeIan, where Balkan immigrants and Romani people are high in number avuIoIlu’s work aims to communicate musical diversity.

‘As music listeners, we need to answer what music is’“As music listeners, we need to answer what music is. The context where music is produced, listened and shared changes.

You listen to music, but the effect it has on you depends on your receptiveness at that moment. Time passes, and you can sing a song later, but this is not the same case with the visual arts,” the curator commented.

“Plurivocality” shows how artists have been interacting with different music genres, as opposed to the popular impression that visual arts can only be aligned with classical music and jazz, alIkoIlu said. One of the exhibition works, Fikret Atay’s video “Tinica,” which dwells on the potential art has to change life, deals with rock music.

The work follows a young man using an oil can, a plastic bucket, pieces of garbage and metal rods as though they were the elements of a full-fledged drum kit, who then starts performing like a rock star on a hilltop overlooking the developing urban environment of the southeastern city of Batman.alIkoIlu said: “In preparing the exhibition, we took different issues into consideration, such as the social and cultural dynamics of music, and made references to the periods Turkey went through and the societal structure of Turkey, which has multiple voices.

The works in the exhibition can leave deep impressions on each art lover Everybody visiting the show can find something for themselves.”Some works not featuring sound displayed as wellOne of the highlights of the show is the late DoIanay’s “Symphony in Blue,” which combines the relationship between music and painting with the high tastes of Ottoman culture according to the exhibition catalogue.

Inspired by the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (The Blue Mosque), “Symphony in Blue” is the first visual artwork that is known to have led to the creation of a musical piece, composer Kamran Ince’s work of the same name, in Turkey. Visitors can also listen to Ince’s “Symphony in Blue” while looking at DoIanay’s work.

One room of the exhibition space has been devoted to Berksoy, the 20th-century Turkish opera singer and artist. One wall of the room features a huge chart showing biographical information about the artist, while the other walls are decorated with Berksoy’s paintings, inspired by opera pieces such as Beethoven’s “Fidelio” and Puccini’s “La Tosca”In the exhibition, works that do not feature any sound, including Turkish-born Armenian conceptual artist Sarkis’ series inspired by Eard Munch’s painting “The Scream,” can also be seen.

“Sarkis uses corresponding tones of colors from the painting such as white, pink, red, blue and green to create replicas of the screaming face on paper,” the catalogue says.“Inside the exhibition space there is a cloud of sounds, in some corner there is spring, in another corner there is rain.

It is as if there is [a circulation of] seasons, the seasons of Turkey,” alIkoIlu concluded. A video still from artist Nevin AladaI’s “Session” “FrenchKiss” by :mentalKLINI.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman