Plurivocality: Visual Arts and Music in Turkey Istanbul Modern, Istanbul

To mark its 10th anniversary, Istanbul Modern is home to the first ever group exhibition to explore the interaction between visual arts, sound and music in Turkey from the late Ottoman period to the present.

Curated by the museum director Levent Çalıkoğlu and curator Çelenk Bafra, and featuring antiquated as well as contemporary pieces, the exhibition includes the work of Nevin Aladağ, Fikret Atay, Semiha Berksoy, Hussein Chalayan, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Burhan Doğançay, Cevdet Erek, Borga Kantürk, Servet Koçyiğit, Füsun Onur, Ferhat Özgür, Sarkis, Erinç Seymen, Merve Şendil, Hale Tenger, Vahit Tuna, and artist duo :mentalKLINIK.

Intending to bring differing mediums and practicioners together on both a personal and social level, the exhibition includes Repertoire, a research area which studies the evolution of various disciplines over the course of 300 years. Studying the initial Westernization of the Ottoman Empire through to the early Republican period, Repertoire reveals the reverberations of historic processes in today’s artistic productions and provides the historical backdrop to the Modern and contemporary artworks in the exhibition – from the musical tones of the abstract art of the 1950s to the popularized content of the 1980s.

In recent years, many of the world’s most influential contemporary art museums have focused upon the relationship between music and visual arts. However this exhibition breaks new ground in doing so exclusively within Turkey, all artworks in some way referencing sound, and being closely connected with the nation’s complex social, political and cultural present and past. Whilst Repertoire puts the exhibition into context, Plurivocality is not only an assessment of Turkish sound art throughout history but also intends to remind its viewers of their social and personal histories.

The artworks within the exhibition, although thematically connected derive from diverse generations and artistic styles and range from Hale Tenger’s Balloons on the Sea which uses images and musical compositions to emphasize the dilemmas of the individual torn between reality and illusion, to Erinç Seymen ‘s trilogy Performance for a Poem, a collaboration Slovenian artist duo Son:DA whose recordings were made in three different countries and together examine topics such as oppression, censorship, and ultra-nationalism. Romany music sits alongside French horns with Ergin Çavuşoğlu’s video installation Quintet Without Borders and :mentalKLINIK’s sculpture FrenchKiss; and video art sees classical Turkish orchestra stand alongside popular music with Hussein Chalayan’s I am Sad Leyla and Servet Koçyiğit’s To Die For, which closes the exhibition with the well known song You’ll Never Walk Alone. This final work exemplifies the way in which music and artistic expression can, and has over centuries, created a universal unity of emotions amongst different peoples, countries and cultures.

Plurivocality: Visual Arts and Music in Turkey, Until November 27 2014 Istanbul Modern, Liman İşletmeleri Sahası Antrepo D:4, 34433 Istanbul, Turkey

1. :mentalKLINIK FrenchKiss, (2014) Courtesy of the artists and Galerist

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