“Places of Memory,” a medley of work by five contemporary artists from Turkey, will make up Turkey's first-ever showcase this summer at the Venice Biennale's prestigious architecture exhibition.
The İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (İKSV), which has been coordinating the Pavilion of Turkey at the biennale's International Art Exhibition since 2007, made the announcement at a Monday evening press gathering at Salon İKSV.
The biennale's 14th International Architecture Exhibition will be held from June 7 to Nov. 23, with Rem Koolhaas as its curator. The event will be held under the main theme “Fundamentals” and feature a number of country pavilions in the Giardini and Arsenale venues. Turkey is taking part in the architecture exhibition for the first time and will be featured in the Arsenale.
Architect Murat Tabanlıoğlu, the curator of the Turkish pavilion, explained during Monday's news conference that they will be putting on a show delving into three areas of İstanbul: Taksim-Salıpazarı, Bab-ı Ali and Büyükdere Avenue, all of which marked a threshold in Tabanlıoğlu's life.
“Places of Memory” is coordinated by Pelin Derviş and will feature the works of photographers Ali Taptık and Serkan Taycan, architect Alper Derinboğaz, digital artist Candaş Şişman and contemporary artist Metehan Özcan.
The main idea behind “Places of Memory” is directly related to the concept designated by Koolhaas. Countries represented in the exhibition were asked to employ the theme “Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014” and to show the process of the “erasure of national characteristics in favor of the almost universal adoption of a single modern language in a single repertoire of typologies.” The idea is to show how the various architectural styles in the beginning of the 20th century eventually merged into a single style in most of the contemporary world.
In “Places of Memory,” Derinboğaz looks at the three locations chosen by Tabanlıoğlu from above, while Taptık goes indoors and offers photos that explore how architecture relates to the proportions of the human body. Taycan mainly focuses on the squares in the city and explores how the idea of public space is experienced by İstanbulites, while Özcan looks at decorative practices in and aesthetic qualities of semi-public locations. Şişman will create a sound installation based on the other artists' work.
“Our focus in the exhibition is … rather on the concept of place itself, incorporated with the subjective vision of every exhibitor in the team. The works interact with each other via different approaches based on different scales and mediums,” Tabanlıoğlu said. “We chose not to write in advance the story that might emerge from this project. We will see the outcome together. This is a conscious decision that keeps us on edge, but one that also holds potential.”