Ayşe Erkmen

Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart

Visitors wishing to enter the first retrospective of the work of Ayşe Erkmen were required to pass through a security gate complete with metal detector. This initially irritating prelude is paradigmatic for the aesthetic method of Erkmen (who divides her time between Berlin and Istanbul): The checkpoint, titled Portiport, 1996/2008, resembled those found at any international airport (and, increasingly, other places as well) and announced via its light signals and alarm bells that the threshold of the institutional spaces of contemporary art had literally just been crossed. At the same time, however, this simulated border control marked a change of context that Erkmen was initiating in order to intervene in the conventions of the globalized art world—not so much overstepping the boundary between art and life as exposing its contingency again and again.

This survey of Erkmen’s work 

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