Mine Haydaroglu

  • Antonio Cosentino, Anhalter Bahnhof, 2017, tin, 19 5⁄8 × 22 7⁄8 × 28 1⁄2". From “An Exile on Earth.”

    “An Exile on Earth”

    Two writers’ interpretations of exile define this show’s approach: those of Spanish author Juan Goytisolo (1931–2017), whose selected essays have been published in Turkish as Yeryüzünde Bir Sürgün (An Exile on Earth, 1992), and those of Tezer Özlü (1943–1986), who defined living as “the act of going.” These writers’ distinct outlooks on displacement—from movement as a personal choice to migration as a harsh social reality—manifested in the work of four artists: Antonio Cosentino, Manaf Halbouni, Hiwa K, and Zeynep Kayan.

    The Syrian-born, German-based Halbouni showed documentation of sculptural

  • Nil Yalter, Hasköy, 2018, digital video, color, sound, 25 minutes.

    Nil Yalter

    Nil Yalter’s latest show, “Kara Kum” (Black Sand), dwelt on the idea of transformation. It started with a prologue. Visitors heard a recording, emanating from behind a curtain with a kaleidoscopic print of images, of Yalter’s voice uttering words in Turkish, English, and French that relate to themes such as time, space, darkness, and movement: “dark matter, atomic nucleus, volume, hidden.” This work, Untitled (all works 2018), is a distillation of a five-minute-long performance; some hourglasses the artist had used during that piece sat on a table in the middle of the room. The black sand, or

  • Ugo Rondinone, Where Do We Go from Here?, 1999/2017, neon, Perspex, translucent film, aluminum. From the series “Rainbow Poems,” 1997–2017. Installation view, Mustafa Kemal Cultural Centre, Istanbul. Photo: Onur Dogman.

    the 15th Istanbul Biennial

    THIS FALL, as the Fifteenth Istanbul Biennial opened in my hometown, art’s resilience was evident—lustrous, even, in the face of negative expectations, populist politics, and outside speculations that an oppressive state would hinder free expression, or that Istanbul would be a dangerous place to visit. The biennial also transcended trends, moving beyond unwieldy constructions of political correctness and pushing against airless conceptions of the exhibition as a curator’s stronghold. Intimately political works proved to be accessible, and person-to-person communication was encouraged, as

  • Selim Turan, Mobile (Acrobats), 1975–80, Japanese paper, wire, string, cloth, aluminum foil, acrylic paint, lead, beeswax, thumbtack, silver paper, papiermâché, approx. 26 × 7 1/4 × 7 1/4".

    Selim Turan

    “Selim Turan: Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis,” curated by art historian Necmi Sönmez, featured more than one hundred works, mostly selected from the trove of more than 250 donated to Istanbul University in 2003 by Selim Turan’s wife, ceramic artist Şahika Turan. (Those pieces are on loan to Sakıp Sabancı Museum while the historic university building undergoes restoration.) The exhibition also included single works by Turkish and foreign artists in Turan’s circle (İlhan Koman, Fahrelnissa Zeid—who has a solo show at Tate Modern in London—Jacques Germain, and Francis Bott, among others).

  • View of “Leylâ Gediz,” 2017. Photo: Hasan Deniz.

    Leylâ Gediz

    Leylâ Gediz’s show “Serpilen” (an unusual Turkish word meaning something that blooms as it is dispersed) was a poetic rendition of her studio, a distilled portion of her work, a pristine and spiritual space created by paintings and some of her working environment’s “clutter,” as she puts it. All became part of a total installation—not a grand, socially loud one, but a quiet contemplation of in-between moments and the intimacy of objects, of lives shared or interconnected, in which viewers could create their own stories through what they saw.

    Gediz’s works have always been thoughtfully studied

  • İnci Furni, Where Is Eros?, 2016, watercolor on paper, 19 × 24 3/4". From the eight-part suite Where Is Eros, 2015.

    İnci Furni

    At a time when an identity politics allegedly upholding cultural diversity (as explored in the special “Art + Identity” summer issue of this magazine) has arguably contributed to deeper conflicts on an international scale, as reflected in anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and the United States, the Brexit vote in Britain, and religiously inspired terrorism worldwide, the need to focus on local sensibilities and hybrid cultural heritages becomes more pressing than ever. In her latest show, “Where Is Eros? Vol. 3,” Furni did just that by taking everyday forms and routines and finding unexpected

  • Šejla Kamerić, What Do I Know, 2007, HD video transferred to 35 mm, color, sound, 15 minutes 51 seconds.

    Šejla Kameric

    Šejla Kamerić’s solo show “When the Heart Goes Bing Bam Boom” was packed with more visitors than you might expect at a nonprofit art space; perhaps the title struck a chord with the people of this nervous city. Placed at the building’s entrance, the giant teddy bear BFF, 2015, made of secondhand clothing, fur, leather, fabric, and used plastic bottles, and Liberty, 2015, an installation using Plexiglas letters, LED lights, and metal spikes, probably helped attract curiosity-seekers from the streets. The teddy bear is out of all proportion to genuine love. Liberty is basically an old store sign

  • Berlinde De Bruyckere, The Wound II, 2011–12, wax, epoxy, leather, wood, horse hair, fabric, and iron, 45 1/4 x 24 3/4 x 12 1/2". From the series “The Wound,” 2011–12. Arter.

    Berlinde De Bruyckere

    For her first solo exhibition in Istanbul, “The Wound,” Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere filled three floors of the contemporary art space Arter as well as the historic Çukurcuma Hammam with her signature pseudo-anatomical sculptures, including four new works. As suggested by the exhibition’s title, recurring aspects in her oeuvre—peeled skin, open wounds, morbid flesh tones—were on display, most boldly realized in the site-specific -009-, 2011–12, a suite of sculptures resembling raw tree limbs and human bones leaning in a vitrine placed in Arter’s window and thus seen by thousands