ISTANBUL.- The 13th Istanbul Biennial
exhibitions, titled Mom, am I Barbarian?, curated by Fulya Erdemci will take place at Antrepo 3, Galata Greek Primary School, ARTER, SALT Beyoğlu and 5533 between 14 September and 20 October 2013.
The 13th Istanbul Biennial, Mom, am I barbarian?, which borrows its title from poet Lale Müldürs book, will focus on the theme of public space as a political forum. The biennial exhibitions will aspire to open up a space to rethink the concept of publicness through art and elicit imagination and innovative thought to contribute to social engagement and discussion.
Initially conceptualized to include many projects that would intervene with urban public spaces, the 13th Istanbul Biennial exhibitions will take place at interior venues as per the curatorial decision. 13th Istanbul Biennial curator Fulya Erdemci decided that under given circumstances realizing the urban public space projects might undermine their very essence and purpose, and it would be more meaningful for the exhibition to move away from urban public space.
The 13th Istanbul Biennial exhibitions can be visited free of charge between 14 September and 20 October at Antrepo no.3 in Tophane, Galata Greek Primary School in Karaköy, ARTER and SALT Beyoğlu on İstiklal Street and 5533 in İMÇ 5th Block.
The 13th Istanbul Biennial is organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) with the support of Koç Holding, which has undertaken the sponsorship of the Istanbul Biennial through 2016.
Fulya Erdemcis statement
For the 13th İstanbul Biennial, we had focused on the most contested urban public spaces in Istanbul such as Gezi Park, Taksim Square, Tarlabaşı Boulevard, Karaköy and Sulukule neighbourhood that were not threatened with the risk of further gentrification through the presence of the biennial. Before the Gezi protests, we had planned to carry out a number of projects that would intervene in urban public spaces. However, when we questioned what it meant to realize art projects with the permissions of the same authorities that do not allow the free expression of its citizens, we understood that the context was going through a radical shift that would sideline the reason detre of realising these projects. Accomplishing these projects that articulate the question of public domain in urban public spaces under these circumstances might contradict their essence and purpose; we are thus convinced that not realizing them is a more meaningful statement than having them materialize under such conditions. Therefore, we decided to move away from the urban public spaces.
When I was structuring the exhibition before Gezi resistance, I never intended to commission or include the spontaneous protest interventions and performances that happen on the streets, as I believe that they shouldnt be domesticated or tamed in the institutional frames to which they are reacting. However, I was thinking that it was possible to highlight them if they were there already. So, I believe that by withdrawing from urban public spaces, thus marking the presence through the absence, we can contribute to the space of freedom, to the creative and participatory demonstrations and forums, instigated by the Gezi resistance.
Our moving away from urban public spaces led to a serious challenge regarding venues, but we were able to overcome this in a short time through establishing collaborations with art institutions such as ARTER and SALT Beyoğlu, and an independent artist initiative, 5533. Furthermore, from the outset, our aspiration was to open this edition of the biennial to everyone. With the decision to withdraw from urban public spaces following Gezi events, we have managed to make this edition of the biennial free of charge with the hope of creating a publicness, which is in line with the conceptual framework of the biennial.