Titled “Journeys-Wanderings in Contemporary Turkey,” the exhibition is curated by Herve Mikaeloff and brings both established and emerging artists together. “Each year, since Espace Louis Vuitton opened in 2006, we focus on a different country’s art scene. After Russia, [South] Korea, Chile and Indonesia, we decided to try to explore what is happening in Turkey’s İstanbul as a new [hub] for contemporary art, especially [for its location] between Europe and Asia,” Mikaeloff said during an interview with Today’s Zaman this week, adding that the exhibition tried to underline different aspects of society.
As an independent curator he spends a significant amount of time working with emerging artists, Herve said. “In this exhibition we are trying to make bridges with audiences from around the world. It is already a public success. It was important for me that the show happen during two international art fairs, Fiac and Art Paris, both of which are held at the Grand Palais, a very close location to our show,” he added.
In the exhibition catalogue, Mikaeloff explains that they kept the social and urban transformation of İstanbul in mind when selecting the artists and works displayed. “The strength, beauty and grand scale of Turkish landscapes unfurl in Murat Morova’s polyptych, in Halil Altındere’s surprising photographic composition and in Murat Akagündüz’s installation combining video with resin painting. Photographer Silva Bingaz documents the lives of İstanbul’s inhabitants, while Ali Taptık creates a patchwork of intimate urban photographs that reveals the mysterious side of this enigmatic country,” he wrote, adding that Ceren Öyküt expressed the chaotic hustle and bustle of the city through drawings inspired by her everyday life.
Childhood and the past also appear as important sources of inspiration in the exhibition, Mikaeloff went on to explain. “İhsan Oturmak paints portraits from class photographs of young children in school uniform; Tayfun Serttaş takes hold of a surprising series of archival photographs of little girls all striking the same contrived pose for the camera. Artist CANAN revisits her homeland’s history in a video portrait of a woman: a contemporary perspective on Turkish society encompassing illumination and traditional Ottoman calligraphy, animated film and collages. Lastly, Gözde İlkin’s embroidery made from various objects found on one of her travels, and the globes suspended from Hale Tenger’s starry canopy, invite visitors to wander beyond the borders of this fascinating country,” he further notes in the catalogue.
There is a very vibrant contemporary art scene in İstanbul, and there are numerous artists showcasing their works both in Turkey and abroad. Asked about their criteria while choosing 11 of them among many, Mikaeloff explained that except one or two well-known artists, their criteria was to select those who are not overexposed and to include artists who had proposed their own approach. “We met a lot of them, we discussed projects, and we were looking for artwork related to the architecture of the space. Some projects were produced especially for the exhibition,” he said.
Noting that contemporary art in Turkey is booming in the full sense of the word -- in terms of artists, collectors and shows -- he added, “I hope this will continue and keep its strong and sharp attitude.”
“Journeys- Wanderings in Contemporary Turkey” continues until Jan. 6, 2013 at Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton in Paris. For more information visit http://www.louisvuitton-espaceculturel.com.