Pinar Ögrenci, Erika and The Night, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 52 seconds.

Canceled Turkish Exhibition to be Staged in Germany

“Post-Peace,” an exhibition that was originally scheduled to go up in Istanbul last year, will now be on display at Stuttgart’s Württemberger Kunstverein, writes Clemens Bomsdorf of the Art Newspaper. The show was canceled due to Ayahn and Me, 2016, a video by Turkish artist Belit Sağ that revolves around a man declaring he was part of an illegal paramilitary group—under the Turkish Security Forces—that executed a large portion of the country’s Kurdish population in the 1990s. One of the Kunstverein’s two directors, Hans Christ, said on German radio that the exhibition’s cancelation was “a clear act of political censorship.”

“Post-Peace,” curated by Katia Krupennikova, was the winning entry of the International Curator Competition, a contest sponsored by the Turkish bank Akbank (Christ was one of the jury members for the competition). The show would have gone on display at Akbank’s exhibition space, but just days before the opening, Akbank Sanat, the institution’s cultural office, shut down “Post-Peace” due to the March 2016 car bombing in Ankara, which killed at least thirty-seven people. Concerts, however, were still taking place at the venue.

The show, focusing on “relationships between war and peace,” will feature artists from Turkey, the Netherlands, Russia, and Palestine. Turkish artist Pinar Ögrenci will be screening Erika and the Night, 2016, a movie about a woman describing Nuremberg’s destruction during World War II. Ögrenci, who faces up to eighteen years in prison for taking part in a peace march in Turkey, has also been accused of terrorism. Many of the artists exhibiting in “Post-Peace” plan on coming to the show and will participate in a seminar on censorship. Köken Ergun, another artist in “Post-Peace,” said censorship might be growing throughout the rest of the world. “Today it is Turkey, tomorrow it might be France, Germany or the US . . . It took Erdoğan [ten] years to ban certain media outlets from his press meetings, but Trump did it in his first month.”