Artnivo.com, a very young online art platform has made a pop up exhibition last week meeting art lovers for the first time in real world rather than only internet . The project directly sells artworks, makes online exhibitions and support artist’s making processes and afterwards since it started out with the purpose of supporting Turkish contemporary artists and making them more recognizable.
Naming the exhibition “Download” the exhibition was referring this platform being in a tangible setting for the first time. Also signifying a “reduction from the general to specific” explains the exhibition’s curator, Özlem Ünsal; from the world to cities, to individuals and their memories, feelings and subconscious.
What I loved personally was that each individual piece was speaking something on it’s own, shaping a meaning in visitor’s mind and contributing to the whole idea which the exhibition was settled on. The selection of pieces was composed of the works of Can Akgümüş, Burak Ata, Selin Balcı, Engin Beyaz, Burak Dak, Hasan Deniz, Leyla Emadi, Özge Enginöz, Eylül Ceren Ersöz, Erdal İnci, Sinem Karaduman, Huo RF, İsmail Şimşek, Özer Toraman, Canan Ustaoğlu and Sabo. There below, are a few of my favourites.
Ismail Simsek was contributing the exhibition with his Gerilim series where we easily recognized one of his works placed in our campus, Özyegin University here in Istanbul. But what we didn’t see coming was to meet with the artist himself after talking about this with Özlem Ünsal. It was such a shocking experience. Leaving a very fulfilling exhibition I really look forward to Artnivo’s further pop up organizations. Suggest you to keep up with!
I guess we’re all familiar with the image of the dozens of Campbell’s Soup cans or the absurdly colourful Marylin Monroe portraits already. If not, it’s not because you’re not a frequent museum visitor, but because you don’t pay attention to home decoration sections of stores or to the wall posters at your friend’s house. What I want to tell is that Andy, and his pop attitude are so overt in our daily lives that you can’t miss it. However, I think Pera Museum wanted to make sure nobody missed it, so organised the exhibition “Pop Art for Everyone” where they collaborated with the Zoya Museum in Warhol’s hometown Slovakia. The exhibition will be running until the 20th of July.
The exhibition was kind of an introduction to Andy Warhol and Pop Art which I believe they are a must-know to any art enthusiast. A person with zero knowledge about them would leave there having a clear idea of what is the main focus, techniques and meaning. Well, bright shades, big patterns and repetition are the most apparent characteristics but for meaning part, I got things to say.
Pop Art is always criticised for being artificial which I also do agree. Most products of pop, show very little more than what’s on the surface of the painting. In Warhol’s pieces however the meaning broadens with their creator’s multifaceted persona. Warhol first started out his career with making illustrations for super big magazines like Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, worked on commercials, illustrated album covers, started a gossip magazine Interview himself, and involved in film making and lived a full fun life with an increasing fame and social life. From the beginning it is said that he have something with fame. His character, I believe, bring the concepts of materiality, ephemerality, fame and all sparkly things to his works and caused him to be criticised this much.
Talking about his art, meanwhile his fast paced social life was going on, he also developed blotted-line, silkscreening, lithography techniques and experienced with mass production of arts which later become his signature. The exhibition was giving place to a couple of series of screen prints where “Cowboys and Indians” series was my favourite. As I stated before pop art always had a superficial side and in making this series, Warhol did not denied it. Rather than reflecting the reality of Indian culture in The States he chose to reflect a little more positive than what is already reflected in the Western movies by showing actors who played cowboy or Indian roles and other popularly known images.
Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1970
Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup II,1979
Andy Warhol, General Coster from Cowboys and Indians Series, 1989
Curatorial work was great from the point of visitor, not to mention the structure of the space of Pera Museum simply one of my favs, the museum atmosphere was supporting the whole energy of Warhol’s works. The walls were painted in bright eye catching colours. Also there were small printed versions of some pieces where you could tear the one you like and keep as a memory.
A couple of last words; Warhol was the first to bring what is known as popular culture, a term reminding of superficiality and materiality in to the subject focus of arts. His works was undoubtfully aesthetic and his techniques were surely innovative for the 60’s.
However, I believe these were not the only reasons that made Andy, “Andy”.
He is now one of the most known artist of 20th century and breaking records with his auction prices($105m is his top with “Silver Car Crash” painting ). And this I think shows the influence of PR alongside with talent and creativity of the artist himself.
Last friday, I actually had no intention of visiting an exhibition until I saw Mr. Quinn’s giant golden seashell at the entrance of ARTER Gallery. The first solo exhibition of Marc Quinn in Turkey is now on display here until 27th April. The exhibition is curated by Selen Ansen and was given the name “Sleep of Reason” with inspiration from Francisco Goya’s 1799 etching named “Sleep of reason creates monsters”.
As a general comment I can say the exhibition was absolutely impressive. With his works Mr. Quinn was presenting a great mixture of meaning and material variety. He adapts modern technologies to his art such as the 3D scanning technique or the freezing blood for sculptures and points on things that as a society, we often pretend not to recognise: disabilities, trans-genders and politic unrests leading to the biggest human tragedies. Often you could feel that Quinn was silently protesting these globally known politics traumas and prejudices that harmed many societies’ both political and social lives in recent history. Another line of issues the artist was referring was the interaction between creation of human and history, nature, culture and human body.
Actually the exhibition was settled up on the idea of a “threshold”. A threshold seems like a separation of two different mediums: outside and inside. But also a tangible point of a change occurring and the only common ground of two separate ends. In this context the works reflect the phases of change in various subjects for example Matter into Light series, implying the energy is never lost in the universe it transforms into some other type of matter or the Before and After Humans series where the water, sky and clouds come in order with an ambience of transformation. Also most of the works contain two polars existing in the some body.
The giant sea shell at the entrance of the gallery was made of bronze and created with using 3D scanning of a shell, representing the a dualism, more of an adaptation, of the shell since it’s interior and exterior is totally different to adapt to ocean environment. I found a similarity with this as humans we sometimes change how we are seen from outside to adapt our social environment.
This is the modified sculpture of an American model, Chelsea Charms who had a couple of breast surgeries. The reason she changes her appearance is the society’s notions of beauty and being sexy. with emphasising the breasts in the sculpture and keeping all the other parts natural, like the ancient Greek sculptures, I guess Quinn wants show how society’s unrealistic views of beauty can affect so many people like Chelsea, to lose their confidence and go for the option of changing their appearance at the cost of so much money and pain.
Along with the sculptures that are partly inspired by Ancient Greece there are Selma Mustajbasic (2000), Peter Hull (1999), Tom Yendell (2000), Alexandra Westmoquette (2000) and Stuart Penn (2000) where all are representations of real people with disabilities.
Self, the most exciting one is a continuous self-portrait project, where the artist gives his own blood, and freezes it inside of a cast, shaped as his own head. He is doing this in every 5 years since 1991. I guess this work of him can be considered as an exploration of self, questioning reasons that make him want to wake up every morning, where blood here represents these reasons as a liquid that physically keeps you alive.
Marc Quinn, Zombie Boy (Rick) 2011
Zombie Boy (Rick) detail
In The Creation of History series and many other works in the exhibition you can observe strong references to recent world politics, particularly countries with turbulent political lives. The series is composed of 6 tapestries which were laid on the floor where viewers were allowed to step on them. This was so strange to me as I hesitated to step on even the security guard told me that we’re allowed to. Tapestries were involving photos from recent riots in Brazil, Greece, Egypt, India and UK, which were implying that only the demand from a country’s own citizens could change a nations path. PS. I really expected to see some shots from the Gezi Park protest.