Sarkis deals with signs of living and living signs. It is not unusual to hear that his light boxes are kept lit beyond an exhibition’s opening hours, or that he agonized over a brief planned power cut for the maintenance of Respiro, his installation for the Turkish pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Not simply the caprice of an established artist, these particularities stem from his decades-long engagement with memory theory, which took center stage at this show, “Ayna” (Mirror), cocurated by the artist and Ceren Erdem.
For the occasion, The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne, the 1995 anthology on memory theory edited by Sarkis and art historian Uwe Fleckner, was translated into Turkish for the first time, and guided the eclectic hanging. The exhibition itself was a multilayered tribute to Aby Warburg’s efforts, especially in his Mnemosyne Atlas, 1924–29, to prove the persistence of
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