November Paynter

  • picks May 29, 2012

    Sislej Xhafa

    The key is a symbol of trust as well as entry, and Sislej Xhafa’s first solo exhibition in Istanbul offers the possibility for viewers to own a new key—and perhaps a nocturnal adventure. Xhafa’s installation contains only a chair, a table, and a key duplicating machine along with the man who runs it. The rest of the gallery is empty, and all security equipment has been removed. For a minimal sum of twenty Turkish liras, a key from the cutter’s growing pile can be purchased, and with it comes the opportunity to access gallery NON at any time, day or night.

    NON Unplugged 2012 is a re-siting of

  • picks May 11, 2012

    Nevin Aladağ

    The latest in Arter’s new commissioned series of solo exhibitions is Nevin Aladağ’s “Stage,” six installations, made of brightly colored artificial hair, that mimic the look of stage curtains. The works frame the walls of the space and offer multiple outlets—a crimson, fringed opera-style drape; maroon pigtails reminiscent of an amateur theater prop; and an azure blue clownish bob—to provide for a variety of potential performances and audiences. References to women’s hair coverings, cloths, or wigs are often a clichéd and complex topic in Turkey. But Aladağ sidesteps this debate by composing an

  • 12th Istanbul Biennial

    To foil the designs of an overeager art market, this year’s Istanbul Biennial curators are withholding the full artist list until the opening and desensationalizing the question of theme by titling this iteration Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011.”

    To foil the designs of an overeager art market, this year’s Istanbul Biennial curators are withholding the full artist list until the opening and desensationalizing the question of theme by titling this iteration Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011.” Motivating their critical stance, they say, is their reading of the practice and ideals of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, whose mix of formal ingenuity and politics will be the focus of five minishows—“Untitled (Passport),” “Untitled (Ross),” “Untitled (Death by Gun),” “Untitled (Abstraction),” and “

  • Kutluğ Ataman

    Kutluğ Ataman first gained prominence when his eight-hour video installation semiha b. unplugged, 1997, was included in that year’s Istanbul Biennial. Since then he has occasionally shown works in Turkey, but, though he has been exceptionally well represented on the international art map—he received a nomination for the Tate’s Turner Prize in 2004—this exhibition, “The Enemy Inside of Me,” is his first retrospective in his homeland.

    Featuring eleven works dating from 1999 to 2010, the selection incorporates significant productions that mark key moments in the development of Ataman’s

  • Ciprian Mureşan

    “If we wanna understand the Humans, we gotta see them at their lowest. The Evil—as they call it—that’s what we study today.” This line is the protagonist’s pessimistic view of humanity that opens Ciprian Mureşan’s video Dog Luv, 2009, which premiered at the Romanian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale last year. Based on a script by Saviana Stănescu, Dog Luv was presented at Plan B alongside Untitled (Tom Chamberlain), 2009, a video that teases out the titular English artist’s painting practice. Mureşan’s solo exhibition was the first in the gallery’s new location within an old brush factory—a

  • picks October 26, 2009

    Haris Epaminonda

    To the right of the entrance hangs a small, framed book page that depicts a man looking up at a towering termite mound. The unusual scale and perspective of this landscape with figure sets the tone for the formation and play of space experienced in Epaminonda’s “VOL. IV.” The exhibition follows Epaminonda’s solo presentation “VOL. I, II & III,” which took place at the Malmö Konsthall earlier this year, and here the mazelike reorganization of the space contains a series of three-dimensional collages that Epaminonda describes as “sentences. ” While the first is made up of just one found folio—the

  • picks May 23, 2009

    Nedko Solakov

    Encompassing three decades of his work, Nedko Solakov’s retrospective at the Sofia Art Gallery is his first large-scale exhibition in Bulgaria since 1988. Curated by Iara Boubnova and Maria Vassileva, the exhibition is arranged in chronological order, with each year of his production––from 1981 to present––noted on a board. The show begins with a selection of Solakov’s early oil paintings, which brought him acclaim in the 1980s. Some of these are gathered in groups, are displayed on the floor, lean against the gallery’s plinths, or are installed on the columns. This unconventional arrangement

  • picks February 15, 2009

    “No More Reality: Crowd and Performance”

    For the inaugural show of this newly launched two-floor gallery, exhibition curators Claire Staebler and Jelena Vesić present a three-year research project that has taken on various forms (exhibitions, discussions, and publications) on the topics of the crowd versus the individual, public and political space, and demonstration and performance. The modest budget and spatial dimensions of the gallery are reflected in the installation: On the ground floor, an appropriately regimental arrangement of monitors hosts video works by artists such as Johanna Billing, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,

  • picks December 25, 2008

    “Emergency Exit”

    This recently formed gallery functions as a nonprofit project space, as well as a commercial venue that represents several young Turkish artists. Its second exhibition, “Emergency Exit,” explores tensions between tradition, prejudice, and assumed roles in society though drawings, paintings, and sculptures by six artists. The outlined figures in Nilbar Güres’s drawings mingle the act of household cleaning with participation in unusual sporting events and sexual fantasies. While Güres infuses freedom of expression and imagination into the mundane habitual experience of home organizing, she also

  • picks August 08, 2008


    Invited to spend five days in Istanbul and in that time produce an exhibition and performance, the members of BADBAT, a London-based collective, created an improvisation of trust in one another and in music, lyrics, and tactility. Made up of painter Joanne Robertson, musician Alec Kronacker, fashion designer Rebecca Fitzmaurice, and artist Rachal Bradley (who was unable to be in Istanbul on this occasion), BADBAT is both a band and an artistic language that positions itself between folk and sophistication. On the show’s opening night, guitars, percussion instruments, and technical equipment

  • picks April 15, 2008

    Isabel Schmiga

    This month, Masa (Table), a traveling glass-topped cabinet for commissioned art projects, has planted its legs at BAS, a space where artists’ books and prints are both produced and displayed. Responding to the vitrine as a site for scientific collections, Paris-based artist Isabel Schmiga presents Bandits, 2008, an assemblage of twenty delicate, insectlike paper models. Displayed in militaristic rows, each one cleanly pinned, both the mechanical imagery printed on their backs and the attendant labels hint at their arthropod genesis. Schmiga has often employed books from the “Observer’s” series

  • picks January 04, 2008

    Lamia Joreige

    Lamia Joreige’s exhibition is the first held in the Kettaneh Building, two floors of which were renovated expressly for the occasion and which might soon hold a more permanent gallery. In the airy, bright, and welcoming street-level area, Joreige presents her installation Nights and Days, 2006, in which short texts are coupled with photographs of urban and more rural landscapes in order to form a series of personal observations. While these prints cannot avoid illustrating traces of war and violence, they also, when read in relation to one another, suggest a variety of narratives involving love,

  • picks October 01, 2007

    “This Then That”

    The first exhibition at this new gallery presents a number of special commissions and sets the tone for director Sylvia Kouvali’s curatorial program. Rodeo’s space, a former tobacco warehouse, is homely yet sparse, its renovated interior a gracious support for the work it hosts. The ground floor features a permanent intervention by Ahmet Ögüt of poured asphalt, which transforms the space into a generous play area for children, whose energy enlivens the gallery’s entrance. This enduring statement is followed by a series of temporary site-specific installations that transform the upper three

  • picks June 01, 2007

    Che ci faccio qui?” (What Am I Doing Here?)

    “What am I doing here?” asks the exhibition’s title, but there is a clear reason why artists Artur Zmijewski, Duncan Marquiss, and Sancho Silva are exhibiting in Montevergini: This is the final part of a new residency program that focuses on using historical sites as stages for contemporary works of art. Commissions by Zmijewski and Silva create a relationship between Siracusa's streets and the more elusive and separate sphere of the gallery space. To produce his films Salvatore, Aldo, and Giuseppe (all works 2007), Zmijewski followed three maintenance workers for a twenty-four-hour period. It

  • picks November 14, 2006

    Güçlü Öztekin

    The paper-based wall works and looped video projections in Güçlü Öztekin’s debut solo show play innocent tricks on both the eye and the imagination. Employing found film footage, Öztekin’s videos concentrate on single short snippets, repeating the moment in a monotonous cycle reminiscent of an obscure screen saver. In the corner of one room, a lion roars in routine boredom; opposite, a triangular shape cut out from a woman’s face bounces around the wall, trapped within the frame of the projection. Clearly taken from a pornographic movie, the reduced image continues to echo the film’s sentiment,

  • picks August 01, 2006

    Tova Mozard

    Located atop the Marmara Pera Hotel, “Yama” (Patch) is a standard Lumacom advertising screen that has been repurposed as a platform for public art. Sylvia Kouvali is the first curator to organize a yearlong series of videos made by international and local artists, each of which faces the particular challenges of this very public site: The work is only visible at night, with no sound, and must be made in accordance with the specifications of the display. Working with the spectacular nature of the presentation and the hectic rhythms of the city below, her program, “. . . as long as it’s dark . .

  • picks June 23, 2006

    Bob Partington

    Until Canadian artist Bob Partington set up a studio in Istanbul a year ago, his practice consisted of computer-generated technical drawings and the occasional handmade mechanical sculpture that mimicked the systematic nature of these two-dimensional images. Istanbul’s organic, energetic urbanism inspired him to abandon his laptop and produce more hands-on work, so he began to paint.

    The six works on display depict Formula One race cars made with acrylic and other industrial materials such as fiberglass. This combination of media allows Partington to articulate areas with glaring, highly pigmented