Critics’ Picks

Mustafa Hulusi, Expander, 2007, screenprint on paper, each 118 1/8“ x 78 3/4”.

Istanbul

“This Then That”

Rodeo | Istanbul
Siraselviler No: 49 Yeni Hayat Apart. Flat 1
September 9–October 28, 2007

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 floors.

Christodoulos Panayiotou’s multimedia installation Let It Shine, 2007, combines a large-scale photograph of a fantastical postmodern building, a record of Judy Garland singing “Over the Rainbow,” and a video that records the unpredictable habits of severe weather phenomena. Referencing The Wizard of Oz, the work brings to mind the dreams of hope that follow loss and hints surreally at utopian transformation. It is flanked on one side by the striking geometric patterns of Mustafa Hulusi’s Expander, 2007, a series of screenprints, and on the other by Eftihis Patsourakis’s softer grids of pastel Post-its affixed to the windows. Upstairs, Hüseyin Alptekin’s Self-Heterotopia/Catching Up with Self, 2007, presents a myriad of found, used, and collected items from the past sixteen years of the artist’s travels, including used bars of soap, embroidered bedsheets, and other items taken from hotels. The intensity and personal depth of Altepkin’s collection are complemented serenely by Gülsün Karamustafa’s archive of found photographs from Istanbul’s winter of 1954, which show the unusual event of icebergs floating from the Black Sea into the Bosporus and the city’s surprised residents posing for pictures astride the ice. Haris Epaminonda’s Tarahi II, 2006, is seductively projected onto the building’s eaves. Her transformation of an Egyptian soap opera into a psychological drama about a mother and her two sons is an alluring blend of fact, fantasy, and turbulent histories.