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Amal Kenawy, Silence of the Lambs, 2009, video transferred to digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes 31 seconds.

the 13th Istanbul Biennial

Various Venues

Amal Kenawy, Silence of the Lambs, 2009, video transferred to digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes 31 seconds.

THE THIRTEENTH INSTALLMENT of the Istanbul Biennial, curated by Fulya Erdemci, marked a shift in tone. This was an uncompromising exhibition about a world in which our shared spheres of collective freedom are rapidly shrinking. Gone were the warm conviviality and slightly naive hopes of relational aesthetics. Instead, a gloomier and perhaps more realistic atmosphere prevailed in works that relentlessly presented us with barriers and unsurpassable frontiers. Here, art was not expected to offer alternatives to such divided realities, even if Erdemci stressed the presence of social alchemies transforming staid conceptions of “the public.”

Even before entering Antrepo No. 3, the warehouse complex that formed the show’s main venue, one encountered Turkish artist Ayşe Erkmen’s bangbangbang, 2013, a huge green plastic ball attached to a crane, which monotonously struck the side of the

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