RuMEYSA – SALT BeyoIlu show focuses on points of change

SALT BeyoIlu show focuses on points of changeA new show at the SALT BeyoIlu art space in Istanbul is bringing several artists together whose new works have their roots in transitional moments in the sociopolitical history of the society they have been living in and their responses to it.Titled andldquoA Century of Centuries,andrdquo the exhibition, which opened on Tuesday, offers a glimpse at several recent transformative events in various parts of the globe — from Russia to Egypt and from Bangladesh to Turkey.

Artist Hera BuyuktaIIyanand#39s installation takes its inspiration from a Babylonian cuneiform tablet that reads and ldquo Destroy your house, build up a boat, save your lifeandrdquo in the event of a flood. Linking her work with the history of the SALT BeyoIlu building, the Siniossoglou apartment, which used to be a residential apartment block for many non-Muslim families in the past, BuyuktaIIyan located her work right under the ceiling paintings, the only traces of the buildingand#39s past.

In 1955, when the Greek minority of Istanbul was exposed to violence by Turkish mobs for hours, some of the most powerful images were the carpets thrown out of the windows of Greek homes. TaIIyan noted during the press viewing of the exhibition that it was one of the most-talked-about memories of those days in her family, so she chose a home carpet for her installation and gave it the form of a boat.

Another work of hers, andldquoDocks,andrdquo is a dynamic structure that makes noises echoing a coastal area that people escaping from disasters would love to reach.Yasemin zcanand#39s andldquothreehundredoneandrdquo makes a reference to the Turkish Penal Codeand#39s notorious Article 301, which criminalizes insulting the andldquoTurkish Nation and Government Institutionsandrdquo and was slightly changed after 2005.

Several legal cases were brought against intellectuals due to this article, and Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was assassinated following his court case. The artist asked jewelry makers in the Grand Bazaar to produce a diamond necklace with the numbers of the article, turning into an object of desire.

The video component of the installation documents the process of making the necklace and touches upon various issues such as the Armenian community in Turkey, the numerous problems related to womenand#39s issues and the never-ending challenges to freedom of expression and thought.A video project by Didem Pekun, in progress since 2011 and included in this exhibition, is titled andldquoOf dice and men,andrdquo which uses dice as a symbol for oneand#39s unpredictable everyday life patterns.

Delving into the questions of paradoxical moments, the video is a personal essay by the artist depicting several historic moments such as the Occupy movements that took place in London in 2011 and Turkeyand#39s Gezi protests in 2013. Apart from the highly significant sociopolitical events, the work also features simple pleasures in life, such as children swimming in the Bosporus.

Pekun is based both in Istanbul and London, and she argues that her work is depicting a specific history ethnographically. Following the line of the well-known essayist Montaigne, she creates a personal visual diary based on her own life.

German artist Judith Raumand#39s archival project, on the other hand, digs up letters written by Deutsche Bank before World War I, when the bank was conducting infrastructural and agricultural projects in Anatolia Compiled from the archive of the bank and after several visits to the sites in Anatolia where German engineers were building Anatolian and Baghdad railways, she realized how the tone of the letters written by the bank before the construction process took a colonialist tone. The installation, covering the entire first floor of the building, features not only historical documents but also the works of the artist as a response to the research she has been conducting.

Other works in the exhibition are artist Kapwani Kiwangaand#39s andldquo..

rumours Maji was a lie,andrdquo about the Maji Maji War of 1905-1907, a rebellion against German occupation in Africa Maha Maamounand#39s three video projects on how pyramids were portrayed in Egyptian cinema, a compilation of YouTube videos depicting the moments when people break into Egyptian state security buildings in 2011 a futuristic novel by Mahmoud Uthman and Shilpa Guptaand#39s installation on how a fertile land becomes a political and geographical issue between India and Bangladesh.A video installation by artist collective Chto Delat? titled andldquoThe Excluded.

In a Moment of Danger,andrdquo which delves into the current political situation in Russia Jumana Manna and Sille Storihleand#39s andldquoThe Goodness Regime,andrdquo exploring the historical events forming the concept of Norway from Crusader era to the Oslo Peace Accord and Dilek Winchesterand#39s works on language focusing on the Armenian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew and Latin alphabets that were used during the Ottoman era are also featured.Within the framework of the show, dancers Erin AslanboIa, Natalie Heller and Bahar Temiz prepared a series of lecture performances titled andldquoTrailer,andrdquo which follows the theme of the exhibition and links the personal stories embedded in humankindand#39s collective memory, giving several historical examples.

The rest of the performances will take place on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays until April 3 on the third floor of the exhibition hall. Oraib Toukan, an artist and academic from Palestine, will also be giving a lecture on March 18 at Open Cinema on a short video by Palestinian photographer and cinematographer Hani Jowharieh following the war with Israel in 1967.

andldquoA Century of Centuriesandrdquo will run through May 24 at SALT BeyoIlu. For more information, visit www.

saltonline.org.

A scene from the film installation andldquoThe Excluded. In a Moment of Dangerandrdquo by the artist collective Chto Delat?Still from andldquothreehundredoneandrdquo by Yasemin zcanStill from andldquoOf dice and menandrdquo by Didem Peku.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman