previews

Istanbul

“WAYS OF SEEING”

Arter - Space For Art
Istiklal Caddesi 211, Beyoglu
June 2 - August 13

Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

In 1972, in the bleak predawn of Thatcherism, British art historian John Berger published Ways of Seeing, an unapologetically Marxist primer that set out to explode the Western canon by demonstrating that looking is an inherently political act—structured by historical and social circumstance—and that culture therefore encompasses a multiplicity of perspectives. Almost half a century later, curators Bardaouil and Fellrath have organized their eponymous exhibition around a similar premise, bringing together works ranging from objects that literally manipulate the viewer’s gaze (Jeppe Hein’s ethereal Mirrored Objects II, 2013) to interactive installations that interrogate the act of looking (Gustav Metzger’s caustic To Crawl Into—Anschluss, Vienna, March 1938, 1996). This reconsideration of Berger’s thinking feels all too timely now, when neoliberalism and resurgent nationalism call into question not just the possibility that diverse viewpoints can coexist but also, for many, the very right to visibility itself.