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ÇIN by Cevdet Erek on view in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th International Art Exhibition
ÇIN (2017), Cevdet Erek, Pavilion of Turkey at the 575h Venice Biennale, installation view. Photo: RMphotostudio.

VENICE.- ÇIN, a new work by Cevdet Erek, is now on view in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 57th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Pavilion of Turkey is located at Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, one of the main exhibition venues of La Biennale di Venezia. The installation can be seen until 26 November 2017.

A site-specific installation, ÇIN uses architecture and sound to explore poetic and political imaginings. Its title has been imagined as a sound signal that foretells the work. An onomatopoeic word in Turkish, ÇIN imitates a specific percussive sound, similar to the ding in English, and is also a root from which two words are derived: reverberation (the prolongation of a sound after it occurs, defined by characteristics of the space it is in) and tinnitus (ringing in the ears due to acoustical trauma or other reasons).

With ÇIN, Erek continues the experimentation of themes and methods which he has investigated in his previous series "Room of Rhythms", "Rulers and Rhythms Studies" and "Sound Ornamentations". In these works, rhythms of history, every day and nature are formalised in the coming together of sound, architecture and performance; visual and sonic timelines are constructed; and architectural ornamentation is created through the use of sound patterns and speech.

Pre-conceptualisation, experimentation and improvisation each play a part in ÇIN’s creation. The basis of Erek’s work for the Pavilion of Turkey consists of a spatial programme concretised by an architectural construction and a multichannel sound installation that were conceived in tandem. Sounds - all produced in the space after its physical construction was completed - guide the one’s passage and are confronted both sequentially and as an infinite variety of combinations. Their complex configurations are at times immersive and at other moments are obscured due to the position and direction of the visitor, generating unseen boundaries and articulating transitivity. Over the course of the Biennale Arte 2017 ÇIN will also be open to interventions: in enabling artists to perform in the space, for instance, with the original sounds varied or switched off. Its form is never final.

The movement of the visitor is integral to the work, encouraging diverse responses through the evocation of temporal and bodily memories. A “sound-ornamented” inner façade and platform occupying the centre of the installation is lifted above a “transit route” that makes it possible to journey between neighbouring pavilions. Dividing the room physically and aurally into two main areas with related qualities, the façade is reached by way of stairs and ramps, while blocked “away terraces” located behind these can be seen but not entered - a temporarily unavailable and inaccessible public space.

The installation aims to summon memories. For instance, of the recent experience of crossing a Venetian bridge over ramps - originally constructed for the city’s marathon and which have subsequently stayed; or perhaps of reaching a dramatic elevation or of resting on stairs in the public realm. Stairs might emerge with connotations to any given impression from a venue for mass gathering: from a ruined cultural venue to a stadium, or just a pedestrian pass in a city with hills. The sampling of some architectural elements – and body’s movements on those – is expected to spread the work to the town that hosts it and perhaps other places via memory. Activated through sound - an abstract medium at times - and space, imagination becomes a matter of political urgency, creating a place that is both tangible and intangible. “The work attempts to pull in different directions,” Erek explains: “towards a place that is inhabited, a place with its contradictions and limitations, a place that drive the will to challenge and confront, a place to imagine.”

ÇIN project team includes pre-installation project coordinator Yelin Bilgin, architect and a soft tone Gürden Gür, architect and smiling face Elif Tunçel, art historian and sibling Ayşe Erek and visual identity designer Yetkin Başarır.

A leaflet with a new text formed by inserting samples from texts Cevdet Erek has shared throughout the process accompanies the exhibition. A bilingual catalogue will be published during the course of the Biennale Arte 2017, featuring a description of the process of making ÇIN, its documentation and responses to the work. It will be published by İKSV and distributed by Yapı Kredi Publications in Turkey. In addition, a 10” record, which features separate samples and mixes of the sound ornamentations, and containing the exhibition leaflet, will also be released.

Every Friday and Saturday during the six months of the Biennale Arte 2017, artists will host an Open Table (Tavola Aperta) and meet visitors over a casual lunch to hold a lively conversation about their practice. Cevdet Erek will host (Open Table) Tavola Aperta on Wednesday 17 May from 13.00 to 15.00, offering visitors the chance to meet him over a casual lunch in the Sale d’Armi in the Arsenale. To reserve a place at this official biennale event, please visit the website of La Biennale di Venezia. The Open Table (Tavola Aperta) events will be filmed and streamed live on La Biennale’s website.

A permanent space will also be created in both exhibition venues of Biennale Arte 2017 for the Artists Practices Project, a series of short videos made by the artists about themselves and their way of working. The video that Cevdet Erek prepared could be seen at the exhibition venue of Arsenale.

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