// s u b j e c t i l e

The Sea-Image will be available for orders through D.A.P/Artbook Distributers

Posted on | January 19, 2012 | No Comments


The Sea-Image: Visual Manifestations of Port Cities and Global Waters
Edited and introduction by Hakan Topal, Guven Incirlioglu.
Text by Ursula Biemann, Shuruq A. M. Harb, T.J. Demos, Vyjayanthi Rao, Alex Villar, Relli De Vries, xurban_collective.

LIST PRICE: U.S. $45.00
ISBN: 9780983603108 | TRADE
Clth, 8 x 8.75 in. / 312 pgs / 255 color.
PUB DATE: 2/29/2012

Panel and Book Launch / The Sea-Image, with Keller Easterling, Vyjayanthi Rao, Alex Villar, Guven Incirlioglu, and Hakan Topal

Posted on | January 19, 2012 | No Comments

Date: Wednesday, 25 January 2012, 7–9 pm
Location: Cabinet, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn (map and directions here)
FREE. No RSVP necessary

Compared to landscapes, seascapes have always appeared less tangible—at once enigmatic and threatening, but also representing hope, adventure, and communication between distant places and people. Although these familiar attitudes toward the sea still persist, headlines about the sea these days more often than not concern catastrophes that occur on and in it, from the Deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the nuclear disaster that engulfed northern Japan following an immense tsunami in 2011.

The Sea-Image: Visual Manifestations of Port Cities and Global Waters(Newgray) addresses the sea as defined by various manifestations of the global economy and the flow of goods and bodies across national and international territories. It proposes and develops visual and narrative strategies to tackle the particularities and potentialities that the sea presents. The book is the result of visual research by an international group of artists, scholars, and writers, including Ursula Biemann and Shuruq A. M. Harb, T. J. Demos, Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer, Vyjayanthi RaoAlex Villar, Relli De Vries, and xurban_collective (Guven Incirlioglu and Hakan Topal). The panel, featuring Rao, Villar, Incirlioglu, and Keller Easterling, will be moderated by Topal.

Keller Easterling is an architect, urbanist, writer, and professor of architecture at Yale School of Architecture. Her latest book, Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and Its Political Masquerades (MIT Press, 2005), researches familiar spatial products that have landed in difficult or hyperbolic political situations around the world. The book won Yale’s Gustave Ranis Award for the best book by a Yale faculty member in 2005. Her previous book, Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America, applies network theory to a discussion of American infrastructure and development formats.

Vyjayanthi Rao is assistant professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research. She works on cities after globalization, specifically in the intersections of urban planning, design, art, violence, and speculation in the articulation of the contemporary global city. She is the author of numerous articles on these topics and is currently working on a book titled “The Speculative City.”

Alex Villar is a Brazilian artist based in New York. His work, which draws from interdisciplinary theoretical sources, employs video, installation, and photography. His individual and collaborative projects are part of a long-term investigation of potential spaces of dissent in the urban landscape, which has often taken the form of an exploration of negative spaces in architecture. He has exhibited at numerous venues, including the New Museum, Mass MoCA, Drawing Center, Exit Art, Stux Gallery, Apexart, Dorsky Gallery, Institute of International Visual Arts (London), and Museu de Arte Moderna (São Paulo).

Founded in 2000 by Guven Incirlioglu (Izmir, Turkey) and Hakan Topal (New York) as a transatlantic collaboration, xurban_collective focuses on regional conflict, military spatial confinement, urban segregation, neoliberal exclusion strategies, and immigration. The collective’s work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial, PS1/MoMA (New York), Apexart (New York), Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna), Kunst-Werke (Berlin), ZKM Center for Art and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany), Pratt Institute Manhattan Gallery (New York), and National Contemporary Art Museum (Athens), among others. For more information, please visitxurban.net.

Guven Incirlioglu studied architecture, photography, and art theory. Since the 1980s, he has worked mostly with photography, photo-mechanical materials, and new media, exhibiting in group and solo exhibitions in New York, Ankara, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Sofia, and other locations. Since 1990, he has been a lecturer in art and design in various schools in Turkey, including Bilkent University, Ankara, and Istanbul Bilgi University, and is currently a faculty member at Economy University’s Faculty of Art and Design in Izmir.

Hakan Topal is an artist based in New York. He is co-founder of xurban_collective and teaches at the School of Visual Arts’ Fine Arts Department and CUNY’s Department of Media Culture. In 2012, he will receive his PhD in sociology at the New School for Social Research. Recently, he was the guest editor of ArteEast Quarterly and finished a documentary film, commissioned by the Neue Galerie (New York), on the late-eighteenth-century Austro-Bavarian sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.


Pascal Gielen Lecture

Posted on | December 6, 2011 | No Comments

Pascal Gielen Public Lecture, 8 November 2011, Art in General, New York by newgray

Mapping Community Arts by Pascal Gielen @ Art In General, November 8th, 6:30

Posted on | October 29, 2011 | Comments Off

In recent years there has been increased attention to so-called ‘socially engaged art practices’. Equipped with a sense of urgency and intent, artists and curators develop work with the support of communities or groups to tackle political and social issues. While the success of these projects are not easily measurable, they often reiterate the role of artist/curator as protagonists of specific forms of social change, which posits a direct contrast to recent activism which carefully distances itself from any leader-based political organizational categories.

Pascal Gielen, co-editor of the recently published volume Community Art, will draw out a critical cartography of community art and will speak about the power and impotencies of this phenomenon. Since modernity, art and community, artist and social work have had an ambivalent relationship. Can art have a role in building communities? What is the political potency of forms of art that strive to integrate individuals and social groups?

In the book Community Art: The Politics of Trespassing (Paul De Bruyne, Pascal Gielen, eds.; Valiz, 2011) the Italian philosopher Antonio Negri states ‘Every kind of change belongs to a form of community art’. This is the inverse of the premise that community art can be an integral component of desired social changes. Negri confronts community art, its supporters and critics with a challenging responsibility, and extends this to include everyone who wants to bring about change in social, political, economic, technological or ecological arenas. Communal and artistic go hand in hand.

In Community Art, visual and performing artists and theorists employ diverse modes of thinking and writing to explore the practices and concepts of the phenomenon of community art in western and non-western societies. The book does not offer a cut-and-dried theoretical model, but presents a new critical reformulation of community art in society.

The event is organized and moderated by artist Hakan Topal with a response by artist Alex Villar.

Community Art is part of the Arts in Society series / Antennae by Valiz
Editors: Paul De Bruyne, Pascal Gielen; Authors: Tilde Björfors, Bertus Borgers, Paul De Bruyne, Luigi Coppola, An De bisschop, Miguel Escobar, Varela, Jan Fabre, Alison M., Friedman, Pascal Gielen, Sonja Lavaert, Carol Martin, Antonio Negri, Alida Neslo, Tessa Overbeek, Lionel Popkin, Richard Schechner, Hein Schoer, Ricky Seabra, Jonas Staal, Klaas Tindemans, Luk Van den Dries, Quirijn Lennert van den Hoogen, Hans van Maanen, Bart van Nuffelen, Karel Vanhaesebrouck, Zhang Changcheng; Design: Metahaven; 374 pages, sewn paperback, 21 x 13,5 (hxw), Eng; Supported by Fontys College for the Arts; ISBN 978-90-78088-50-9, $ 28,95, published by Valiz Amsterdam, distributed in the US byD.A.P. New York

Pascal Gielen is professor of sociology of the arts and director of the research centre Arts inSociety at Groningen University (NL), and also director of the research group and book series ‘Arts in Society’, Fontys College for the Arts, Tilburg (NL).

Publications series Arts in Society:
Gielen, De Bruyne (eds.), Being an Artist in Post-Fordist Times (NAi Publishers, Rotterdam 2009)
Gielen, The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude: Global Art, Memory and Post-Fordism (Valiz, Amsterdam 2009)
De Bruyne, Gielen (eds.), Community Art (Valiz, Amsterdam 2010)
Forthcoming spring 2012: Gielen, De Bruyne (eds.), Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm: Realism versus Cynicism (Valiz, Amsterdam 2012).

Thanks to Anne Barlow, Executive Director, Art in General and Vera Zolberg, Professor of Sociology, New School for Social Research.



Open letter to Todays Zaman editors

Posted on | May 2, 2011 | No Comments

Open Letter
May 2, 2011

To Today’s Zaman Editors,

I am writing this note in response to the article “Selective Discrimination Against Arts Journalists” by Rumeysa Kiger that appeared on April 16th, 2011*. I personally contacted Rumeysa Kiger and wanted to clarify her points and her accusations.

As xurban_collective, we have operated internationally as an artist group over the past eleven years. We take communication seriously. In addition to exhibition materials and wall text, we produce brochures and posters and share our visual and textual material on the Internet with the public .

In all these years, we encountered countless interview requests from journalists. Unfortunately, the majority of these journalists had no or very little information about contemporary art, and they rarely knew about our practice as an art collective. They directed us various unqualified, careless and often meaningless questions, which ultimately dilute the outcome of our projects instead of helping to unravel it to the public.

We nevertheless gave various interviews to serious reporters in written or oral form and took these moments to reflect upon our practice and benefited from their questions immensely. We sincerely believe in a salient form of journalism that is independent, free from corporate interest and research-based. We highly respect journalist friends who do take their job seriously. Furthermore, we believe that if it wants to have a vibrant visual art scene, Turkey definitely needs good art reporters and art critics prominently featured in the media.

Unfortunately journalism in Turkey is going through very hard times of ethical dissolutions and corruption. Journalists throw themselves at their subjects without the necessary skills or qualification. The most pathologic aspect of this situation is that newspapers and TV channels show little or no editorial integrity and institutional responsibility whatsoever and they directly publish content which has no value other than being cheap gossipy magazine news. Our engagement with these types of culture journalists proves that it is absolutely useless for the public and it is a waste of everybody’s time. For that reason, as a collective, we decided long ago that we first kindly suggest reporters to read our texts, look at the work and then if they have any further questions or request for clarification we would be more than happy to respond to them. However it was rare that they even looked at the works themselves. Can you imagine a reporter interviewing a writer without reading his or her books or poems?

When I contacted Rumeysa Kiger, I clearly explained the aforementioned reasons why we do not want to engage with journalists before they research our work and I undoubtedly rejected her baseless accusations regarding her main points of our “selective discrimination of certain journalists”.

In her response e-mail, she stated that when she approached Guven Incirlioglu for an interview request, she indeed looked at the materials and read the text that we wrote for the exhibition. We saw that there was a misunderstanding and later on Guven directly apologized about his assumptions, and appreciated that his rejection for an interview could have been taken as rude.

In my e-mail, I indicated the fact that she did not contact xurban_collective when she was writing the article, the fact that we did not have any written or verbal comments about Zaman newspapers anywhere, anytime, the fact that she presents herself as a victim while accusing us as discriminating is a symptomatic case of gossipy, magazine journalism that is widespread among journalists in Turkey and has no value for serious cultural writing.

The reason that I personally contacted her is that I wanted to make an attempt to overcome the misunderstanding and wanted to identify the issues about her article and unprofessionalism as a journalist. I suggested that I would be more than happy to respond all her questions when I visit Istanbul at the end of May, something that she declined.

Even though she may be personally ‘wounded’ by Guven’s misinterpretation of her approach to journalism, one would expect that Kiger would show journalistic integrity and would question her stance after we explained our rationale. Her baseless public attacks are proof that her ethical values as a journalist are severely compromised.

The fact that Kiger did not want to see the issues about her journalistic style is indeed saddening. At this moment, I can only hope that journalists from Turkey would not use their columns to frame people for their personal or corporate interests and instead of finger pointing, they would engage in salient research and writing.

Kind Regards,
Hakan Topal

*Selective discrimination against arts journalists
[ http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&newsId=241166&link=241166 ]

Tactics of Invisibility opening at Arter

Posted on | March 10, 2011 | No Comments

“Tactics of Invisibility” is a collaborative project developed by Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Tanas, Berlin and ARTER. Co-curated by Emre Baykal and Daniela Zyman, “Tactics of Invisibility” moved to Berlin in September to be shown at Tanas. Containing, among others, works produced exclusively for the exhibition, “Tactics of Invisibility”s third stop will be ARTER, to be exhibited between 8 April and 5 June 2011.

Participating artists: Nevin Aladağ, Kutluğ Ataman, Cevdet Erek, Ayşe Erkmen, Esra Ersen, İnci Eviner, Nilbar Güreş, Hafriyat, Ali Kazma, Füsun Onur, Ahmet Öğüt, Sarkis, Hale Tenger, Nasan Tur, xurban_collective.


Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire

Posted on | November 17, 2010 | No Comments

Please join us at the opening reception of; Blind Dates: New Encounters from the Edges of a Former Empire, Thursday, November 18, 6 – 8 p.m, at Pratt Manhattan Gallery , 144 West 14th St, 2nd Floor. xurban_collective is participating the show with a new piece that we developed after a 2800km research (road) trip to North Eastern Anatolia. Project website: http://xurban.net/scope/botanycarcinoma/

About the exhibition:

Tracing what remains of the peoples, places and cultures that once constituted the vast Ottoman geography, Blind Dates instigates a series of interdisciplinary ‘match-made’ encounters to mediate ruptured pasts and to consider their affect on life today. At the heart of the exhibition are research-based artistic collaborations by artists from Armenia, Bosnia, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and their respective Diasporas who explore attachments to images, voices and histories that collide with existing taxonomies of nation-states, art histories and identities. On view is a cluster of sensibilities that nest at the verge of remembering and forgetting, truth and fiction, real and imaginary.

Participants include:

Silva Ajemian and Aslihan Demirtaş
Karen Andreassian with Citizen Walkers
Hrayr Anmahouni Eulmessekian with Prof. Anahid Kassabian
Michael Blum and Damir Nikšić
Jean Marie Casbarian with Prof. Nazan Maksudyan
Özge Ersoy with Taline Toutounjian
Linda Ganjian and Elif Uras
Aram Jibilian with Arshile Gorky’s Ghost and Aaron Mattocks
Nina Katchadourian and Ahmet Öğüt
Karine Matsakyan and Sona Abgaryan
Stefanos Tsivopoulos with A Contemporary-Classical Dancer
Jalal Toufic with Prof. Selim Kuru
Xurban Collective (Guven Incirlioglu, Hakan Topal, Mahir Yavuz)

Guest curated by Defne Ayas and Neery Melkonian

The exhibition will be on view November 19, 2010 – February 12, 2011, Free and open to the public.



On Silence: ArteEast Quarterly Journal Lauch and Panel Discussion

Posted on | November 10, 2010 | No Comments

December 14th, 2010 6:30pm
International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)
1040 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211


The Fall 2010 issue of ArteEast Quarterly Journal brings a wide range of artists, curators and scholars together to address the possibilities and limitations of the condition of “silence” through various examples in art, music and socio-political contexts. This issue is edited by Hakan Topal with contributions by Defne Ayas, Anne Barlow, Regine Basha, Dan Cameron, Aslihan Demirtas, Cevdet Erek, Tony Chakar and Micah Silver.

Presentations by
Aslihan Demirtas (Architect, New York)
Regine Basha (Curator, New York)
Cevdet Erek (Artist, Istanbul)
Micah Silver (Artist, Cambridge, MA)

Moderated by Hakan Topal (Artist, xurban_collective)
Response by Anne Barlow (Executive Director, Art in General)

Anne Barlow
Anne Barlow is Executive Director of Art in General, New York. From 1999-2006, she was Curator of Education and Media programs at the New Museum, where she oversaw its educational and public programs, initiated and developed Museum as Hub, a network that connects the museum with art partners in Cairo, Eindhoven, Mexico City and Seoul, and curated numerous exhibitions and performances. From 1994-1999, she was Curator of Contemporary Art and Design at Glasgow Museums, where she managed its contemporary art and design collection, temporary exhibitions program, artists’ residencies, and new commissions. She has been a lecturer/ guest critic for organizations including the Royal College of Art, London; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; MUMOK, Vienna; New York University; and Tate Modern, London. Barlow is the appointed Curator of Bucharest Biennale 5, which will take place in May 2012.

Regine Basha
As a curator, Basha works with various formats to disseminate art and ideas including exhibition, public commissions, radio, live presentation, temporal sonic interventions, virtual and print media. She created the archival project Tuningbaghdad.net in conjunction with unitednationsplaza in 2008. Over the past decade, she has produced exhibitions and commissions with artists such as Julieta Aranda, Daniel Bozhkov, Nina Katchadourian, Dario Robleto + Jeremy Blake, Valerie Tevere + Angel Nevarez and Stephen Vitiello with Steve Roden. She is co-founder of Fluent~Collaborative out of Austin, Texas-where she was also based as Adjunct Curator for Arthouse for five years. Basha currently sits on the board of Art Matters and Aurora Picture Show and programs occasionally for Cabinet Magazine’s new space. See bashaprojects.com for more information.

Aslihan Demirtas
Aslihan Demirtas is the principal of Aslihan Demirtas Design and Research Studio in New York. Her practice includes national and international projects that encompass ground-up buildings, landscape projects, exhibition design and collaborative art projects. She has published articles in journals and chapters in books by MIT Press, Bauhaus and Harvard Press. Demirtas is currently teaching design studio at Parsons School of Constructed Environments. She has taught at Fordham University and MIT and has lectured at GSD at Harvard University and Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany. Demirtas holds a Master of Science in Architectural Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. Before establishing her own practice she has worked with I.M. Pei as the lead designer for the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar and a chapel in Kyoto, Japan.

Cevdet Erek
Cevdet Erek is artist and musician living and working in Istanbul. Erek’s installations, objects, videos and performances have been shown at the 9th Istanbul Biennial, Platform Garanti, Stedelijk Museum, Arter, Extra City and Artists Space among others. Erek was a resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam from 2005 to 2006 and his installation ‘Studio’ was awarded the Uriot Prize. His book SSS was published by BAS Artist Books – Istanbul in 2008. He holds a BA in architecture and a MA in sound, is working on a PhD and works as a research assistant at ITU MIAM. http://www.cevdeterek.wordpress.com

Micah Silver
Micah Silver is an artist and curator working in and around music and sound art. Shows of his installation and audio works have been mounted by the Jersey City Museum; Issue Project Room, New York City; Artspace New Haven; Mass MoCA; the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art; The James Joyce Centre, Dublin, Ireland; The Place, St. Petersburg, Russia and the MATA Festival, New York City. As a curator and co-conspirator in the work of other artists he has been associated with Diapason Gallery for Sound, New York City; The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, New York; the Earle Brown Music Foundation and the Maryanne Amacher Archive.

Hakan Topal
Hakan Topal is an artist, writer and designer living and working in New York. He is the co-founder of xurban_collective and the principal of New York based research and design office, Newgray. He studied engineering, gender and women studies and sociology. Topal has had one-person exhibitions, performances, video projects and photo-essays in addition to publishing works in various journals and catalogs. He exhibited extensively including projects in institutions such as the 49th Venice Biennial, the 8th Istanbul Biennial, PS1/MoMA, New York; apexart, New York; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; Kunst-Werke, Berlin and ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe. See www.xurban.net | www.newgray.com for more information.

Sea of Marble: A Navigational Convergence by xurban collective

Posted on | November 9, 2010 | No Comments

in collaboration with Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture


An exhibition project by xurban_collective
5 November — 26 December 2010

5 November / Kasım 2010 18:00

Sanat Limanı, Antrepo No:5, Tophane, Istanbul

4 December 2010
Sanat Limanı, Antrepo No:5, Tophane, Istanbul

Ursula Biemann (Zurich) & Shuruq A. M. Harb (Ramallah), TJ Demos (London), John
Palmesino (London) ,Vyjayanthi Rao (New York), Alex Villar (New York), Relli De Vries (Tel-Aviv)

xurban_collective: Project Directors Guven Incirlioglu (Izmir) and Hakan Topal (New York), Project Lead Designer Mahir Yavuz (Linz) and Atif Akin (Istanbul)

Project Partners: Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mortenbock (Vienna/London)

One can identify countless physical traces of both natural and cultural events in any landscape. Endemic vegetation, landforms, as well as the remnants of civilizations are infused on top of each other and characterize a specific geography. The sea as an ever-changing, relatively flat space conceals all the traces of time and transforms them into mythologies. Both the land and the sea are in constant flux with different viscous properties. They touch each other and form a complex, oscillating line of infinite length.

The project Sea of Marble: A Navigational Convergence (2009–10) is developed as an exhibition and a symposium, and aims to address the seas as defined by various manifestations of global trade, economy, and the flow of bodies. It endeavors to develop visual and narrative strategies to tackle with the particularities and potentialities that the sea presents.

The sea of Marmara, located in between the Black Sea and the Aegean, literally means ‘the sea of marble’ hosts one of the major fault lines expected to bring a catastrophic tremor to Istanbul. In addition to several earthquakes, prison islands in Marmara mark Turkey’s recent grim political history of coup d’etats and most recently hosted the country’s most wanted Kurdish guerilla leader. The sea is highly polluted by manufacturing and oil industries. On any given day, hundreds of ships stay anchored, waiting for the next big global agitation. In this respect, the seas are transmitters of history, wealth and culture as well as a source of biological richness and are also the bearers of scourge, oil spills and chemicals, and the invading jellyfish and the disappearing reef. The oil tankers and container ships sail to the effect of millions of tons, accumulating and transferring immense wealth from one part of the world to another. Refugee boats also sail across sometimes to cat astrophic ends either while at sea or at their destination. Recent events such as the Gaza aid flotilla, the British Petroleum oil rig disaster in the Gulf Coast of USA, island disputes between China and Japan, the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 and the opening of the northern sea route are examples that we all follow with curiosity.

Sea of Marble: A Navigational Convergence project is conceived in three parts. First, xurban_collective’s exhibition is based on the visual research in cities including Athens, Marseille, Istanbul, Izmir and New York. Second, a symposium will take place on December 4th, 2010 at Antrepo No:5, an old warehouse in Istanbul port. Participants of this symposium include Ursula Biemann (Zurich) and Shuruq A. M. Harb (Ramallah), TJ Demos (London), John Palmesino (London), Vyjayanthi Rao (New York), Alex Villar (New York) and Relli De Vries (Tel Aviv). xurban_collective and their project partners will take the role of moderators and respondents for each presentations along with Aslihan Demirtas (New York). The third of the project is part is a book and the website which will gather and archive the project’s visual materials, presentations and discussions in a unified format.

About xurban_collective

xurban_collective is an international art collective founded in 2000 by Guven Incirlioglu (Izmir) and Hakan Topal (New York) as a transatlantic collaboration. Members include Mahir Yavuz (Linz) and Atif Akin (Istanbul). xurban_collective’s mission is to instigate the questioning, examination, and discussion of contemporary politics, theory, and ideology, utilizing documentary research and take the form of media projects, installations and texts. The collective focuses specifically on areas of regional conflicts, military spatial confinement, urban segregation, nationalist and neo-liberal exclusion strategies. www.xurban.net

Tactics of Invisibility Exhibition

Posted on | November 9, 2010 | No Comments

Nevin Aladağ, Kutluğ Ataman, Cevdet Erek, Ayşe Erkmen, Esra Ersen, İnci Eviner, Nilbar Güreş, Hafriyat, Ahmet Öğüt, Füsun Onur, Sarkis, Hale Tenger, Nasan Tur, xurban_collective

An exhibition project by TANAS/Berlin, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary/Vienna and ARTER/Istanbul
Curated by Daniela Zyman and Emre Baykal

Duration: 11 September 2010 – 15 January 2011/ admission free
Closed 24 + 31 December 2010 and 01 January 2011

Tactics of Invisibility is a collaborative project developed by TANAS Berlin, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, and ARTER, Istanbul. Conceived as a survey exhibition, the project presents fourteen positions from the contemporary artistic production of Turkey and its diaspora that deal with the concept of invisibility in different ways – as “being-under-the-surface”, as the presence of absence, a tactic of withdrawal, refusal and resistance, of camouflage and disguise, as a symptom of disappearance, as a residue of the spectral and uncanny. Discourse around these artistic tactics emphasizes the potentialities of invisibility while also drawing attention to the implications of (voluntary or symptomatic) exclusion from the regime of the visible.
Tactics of Invisibility focuses on the potential of artistic practice to inhabit the liminal zones between the visible and the invisible and to call them into question through interference and disruption. In the process, it highlights the repressed and silenced, as well as inconspicuous phenomena that can be seen as symptomatic of pathologizing and “Otherness” but also understood as manifestations of marginalization or resistance. To invoke the unseen beneath the surface, or to produce it by means of camouflage and disguise, offers a strategy for intervening in processes of transformation and establishing new or imaginary linkages.

Tactics of Invisibility assembles a variety of artistic positions from three decades, enabling the exhibition also to pursue lines of connection and topical approaches to an aesthetic of invisibility. Works by pioneering figures such as Sarkis, Füsun Onur, and Ayşe Erkmen paved the way for the dynamic and sociopolitically engaged Turkish art of the 1990s, in which questions of multiculturalism, identity politics, migration, and minority politics came to the fore. While the works of İnci Eviner, Kutluğ Ataman, and Hale Tenger evince ties to the discourse of that period, their current work develops that discourse in very specific ways. Their projects query terms of “reality” by generating conceptual breaks or analytically dismantling and rearranging semantic structures, which links them to the artistic positions of the younger generation, as represented by Cevdet Erek, Esra Ersen, Nilbar Güreş, Nasan Tur, Nevin Aladağ, Ahmet Öğüt, xurban_collective, and the artists’ initiative Hafriyat.

Exhibition catalogue with contributions by:
Meltem Ahiska, Murat Akagündüz, Gudrun Ankele, Gülsen Bal, Emre Baykal, Aysegül Baykan, Margrit Brehm, Dieter Buchhart, Levent Çalıkoğlu, Barbara Heinrich, Nataša Ilic, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Nermin Saybaşılı, Basak Senova, Necmi Sönmez, Pelin Tan, Jalal Toufic, xurban_collective and Daniela Zyman.
219 pages, 15 Euro/ available at TANAS


Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Himmelpfortgasse 13
1010 Vienna
16 April – 15 August 2010

Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary was founded in 2002 by Francesca von Habsburg. The foundation is based in Vienna, where it maintains an exhibition space whose temporary exhibitions are open to the public at no charge. Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary has dedicated itself to the task of actively supporting, commissioning and disseminating the production of contemporary works of art. Its programmatic focus lies in recognizing the regional breadth and diversity of artistic forms and intellectual disciplines that challenge and expand modalities of perception and experience.

ARTER, Istiklal Caddesi No: 211, 34433 Beyoğlu, Istanbul, www.arter.org.tr
from March 2011

ARTER is a new art institution that opened in May 2010 with the exhibition “Starter: Works from the Collection of the Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul”. Initiated and supported by the Vehbi Koç Foundation, ARTER aims to make a significant contribution to the development of contemporary art in Turkey through close collaboration with artists and art professionals within the framework of a committed program that encourages and facilitates artistic production both in Turkey and on an international level.

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