Critics’ Picks

View of “Banu Cennetoğlu,” 2019.

View of “Banu Cennetoğlu,” 2019.


Banu Cennetoğlu

Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen - K21
Ständehausstraße 1
July 6–November 10, 2019

“Yet again, a small minority of idiots have spoiled it for everyone else,” reads a quote from a Greater Manchester council cabinet member, pulled from the Radcliffe Times, the local paper for the small English town. The paper is one of hundreds in a series of forty-six hardbound volumes that make up Banu Cennetoğlu’s multi-part work 04.09.2014, for which the artist collected daily newspapers from the UK and the Channel Islands, all printed on September 4. Expanding further on this amassing of information is a twenty-two-part video that runs more than 127 hours, 1 January 1970 – 21 March 2018 · H O W B E I T · Guilty feet have got no rhythm · Keçiboynuzu · AS IS · MurMur · I measure every grief I meet · Taq u Raq · A piercing Comfort it affords · Stitch · Made in Fall · Yes. But. We had a golden heart. · One day soon I’m gonna tell the moon about the crying game, 2018, which comprises images and video footage drawn from the artist’s personal archives, all arranged chronologicallyBetween these two works, the central concern of Cennetoğlu’s exhibition emerges: How do we order knowledge, and how do these processes determine our formation as both political and psychological subjects?

A work installed in the central room clarifies the sense that when it comes to personal beliefs and decision-making, facts and rationale are often dismissed in the moment of reaction. Resting at the ceiling, a string of black balloons spell out a phrase from the writings of the French psychoanalyst Octave Mannoni: ICHWEISSZWARABERDENNOCH (I Know Very Well, But Nevertheless), 2015/19. The balloons can be viewed both as a rejoinder to the newspapers and the video and as a bridge between them. Intended to deflate and lose their meaning over the course of exhibition, they elaborate on the exhibition’s anxiety: While subjects are kept well-informed about the world and its complex and variable political realities, there is simply too much information to keep afloat.

Cennetoğlu also reflects on the growing marginality of the individual, and how one’s subjectivity seems increasingly obscured and directed by the mass-mediated polarization of the time, prompting the question, Which small minority of idiots spoils it for whom?