Todays zaman: Panel discussion becomes artistic town-hall meeting at İstanbul Modern

A panel discussion at the İstanbul Modern Museum of Art earlier this week turned into a major debate on censorship and the state of contemporary art in Turkey after the museum barred an artist’s work from a recent auction.
Earlier in the month, the museum had removed a work by Bubi Hayon from its program for an invitation-only auction night titled “Gala Modern,” to which several artists had been invited to donate works of art or objects to in an effort to raise money for the museum’s educational programs. The piece was a wooden chair with a chamber pot for its seat. In response, Hayon issued a press release, arguing that the museum’s decision amounted to censorship. The museum, on the other hand, claimed that it had the right to choose which works of art to include in the event and that Hayon’s contribution had not met the proper criteria.
The incident has created heated discussions among members of the art scene in Turkey, especially on social networking sites. Artist Köken Ergun called on artists whose works were being exhibited in the museum’s ongoing temporary exhibition to withdraw their works and urged other artists to boycott the museum until it “changes its mindset.”
The International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Turkey board of directors, however, issued a press release last week stating that the decision of the museum could not be considered “censorship” since the event was not an exhibition but a fund-raising activity. Similarly, the Turkish National Committee of the International Plastic Arts Association (UNESCO AIAP) board of directors said in a press release that the incident does not constitute “censorship” since an act can only be considered censorship if a third party such as a government, a local authority, a ministry, a municipality or the police is responsible.
Voicing disappointment with the statements of the two bodies, artist Hakan Akçura released a press statement with the support of more than 90 people from the Turkish art community, declaring that they consider İstanbul Modern’s action a form of censorship and called on the museum to apologize both to Hayon and the art community as a whole.
Tuesday’s panel discussion was initially organized as part of the museum’s ongoing exhibition “Dream and Reality,” a chronicle of the works of female artists from Turkey since the 1900s, during which three contemporary artists, Selda Asal, Seda Hepsev and Mürüvvet Türkyılmaz, were going to talk about their works of art in the show.
In the context of the recent controversy, however, the artists announced on Monday through social networking sites that they had decided to devote the panel discussion to such issues as transparency and private and public institutions as well as artists’ rights. But discussion at the event, attended by more than 80 members of the art scene took on a life of its own after panelist Türkyılmaz announced that she would be withdrawing her work from the show in response to İstanbul Modern’s actions. The audience then raised questions and voiced concerns about an array of problems related to several forms of censorship dominating the current art world in Turkey, a lack of organization among artists and problems caused due to the fact that all major cultural institutions in the country are backed by various corporate entities and the lack of transparency in their activities.
While the statements from AICA Turkey and the Turkish National Committee of UNESCO AIAP were harshly criticized, the absence of Hayon and representatives of the museum to give their account of what had happened raised considerable complaint among the panelists and the audience. Many attendees also underlined several times that İstanbul Modern should apologize to the participants and the audience of this event since it ignored the concerns of the art world in general by not being present during the panel discussion.
Following the panel, seven other artists — Ceren Öyküt, Gözde İlkin, Güneş Terkol, İnci Furni, Ekin Saçlıoğlu, Neriman Polat, Leyla Gediz — and artist collective AtılKunst followed Türkyılmaz and announced that they would be requesting that the museum remove their works from the exhibition.
Asked whether the museum will hand the artists their works of art back, İstanbul Modern’s chief curator Levent Çalıkoğlu told Today’s Zaman on Thursday that the museum “respects the decision of the artists and will act in accordance with their requests.”
This entry was posted in art, campaign, censorship, istanbul modern, turkey by omosis. Bookmark the permalink.

About omosis

Selected exhibitions, activities: 2013 Artist presentation: "Being in Sweden, being an immigrant, being an artist", Adaevi, Museum of the Princes' Islands, İstanbul, Turkey "Yersiz: Kader Birliği", Mardin, Kızıltepe, Turkey “Ja jag vill leva jag vill dö”, Tegen 2, Stockholm "Vilken tur! Himlen omfamnar oss!" / "What luck! The sky embraces us!" / "Ne şans! Gökyüzü hepimizi sarıyor!" Photography Exhibition, Ideas and Innovation Fair, Stockholm "Milat" Exhibition for Hrant, Getronagan Lisesi'nden Yetişenler Derneği, Harbiye / Rumeli Han C blok 6.Kat - Beyoğlu, İstanbul 2012 Migration Connections Project 2012 Exhibition, Museum of the Princes' Islands, İstanbul, Turkey Edinburgh Middle Eastern Film Festival, Filmhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK Artist Talking and Screening, Agent Ria, Still Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK 2011 Ars retorica, Hall the university library of Paris 8 – Saint Denis, France The Exhibition on the 20th Anniversary of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey: Where Fire Has Struck, DEPO Istanbul, Turkey 2010 PAI 2010-2011 in Thebes, Conference Center of Thebes, Greece International Media Arts Festival Videfesta’10: Archive Fever, Goethe Institute, Ankara, Turkey Temps D'Images Portugal 2010 Festival Film Award for Films on Art section "From childhood to police station" Exhibition, Free Expantion Platform, Istanbul, Turkey HEP Iran screening, Sazmanab Project, Tehran, Iran AthensArt 2010 contemporary art exhibition, Athens, Greece PAI 2010 contemporary art exhibition, Samothrace, Greece "Thistles of Sazak" screening and exhibition, 7th Karaburun Festival, Izmir, Turkey Distance Festival, London, UK "Artist Cinema", Art Beijing, China Over trubled water, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden Ankara International Film Festival, "Video: Spaces of Memory", Ankara, Turkey Direct Channell, Canakkale' Turkey !F Istanbul Film Festival 2010 online program: See it yourself (This village)' Istanbul, Turkey HEP Screening, AFA Beijing, China Tornavideo, Tamirhane, Ankara, Turkey 2009 “Projected Visions: 35 years of Turkish video art” exhibition Meeting Europe - Istanbul, Wacken Exhibition Centre, Strasbourg, France HEP (Human Emotion Project) Screening, AFA @ Portuguese Bookshop Gallery, Macau, China co-exhibition "Dirty Story", BM Suma, Istanbul, Turkey HEP (Human Emotion Project) Screening, Caldas-da-Rainha, Portugal HEP Screening, Berlin, Germany "Thistles of Sazak", art performance, Karaburun, Izmir, Turkey "Istanbul-Off-Spaces" co-exhibition, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany co-exhibition "Interzone:Nation", Gallery Galzenica, Zagreb, Croatia HEP Screening, LaSala in Cigunuela, Spain HEP screening, Melbourne, Australia "Varning för klämrisk", Solo Exhibition, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden to Ankara International Film Festival, Ankara, Turkey 2008 1st Int. Roaming Biennial of Tehran, Berlin, Germany "Hög på Golvet" group exhibition at Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden 1st Int. Roaming Biennial of Tehran, Istanbul, Turkey International Mail Art Project 2008, Conceptual Continuity Supermarket 2008 Art Fair with Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden 2007 "Fear of god" co-exhibition, Hafriyat Karakoy, Istanbul, Turkey "Bodrum Film Festival", Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey "Jag, min husses hund" group exhibition, Tegen 2, Stockholm, Sweden "Nightcomers" project in the 10th Biennial of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey Scope NYC [PAM], Scope Art Fair, Lincoln Center, New York, USA 2006 co-exhibition "Labyrint" in Botkyrka Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden Artist's "Sann dialog" ("Real dialogue") contemporary art activity has been started. Stockholm, Sweden Artist sent his videoperformance named as "Öppet brev till Migrationsverket" to Migrationsverket ("Open letter to Sweden Migration Board") 51', Stockholm, Sweden 2004 Artist given his art-object named as "För uppehållsstillstånd" to Migrationsverket ("For residence permission"), Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "Bridge from east to west", BBK Karlsruhe, Germany 2003 co-exhibition of AIAP "Hal/iç" with work name the "Difficult sleep". Kadir Has University, Istanbul, Turkey 2002 co-exhibition "Arts Plastiques" in METU Spring Festival at METU Congre Center, Ankara, Turkey co-exhibition "A travel into life" at Kargart, Istanbul, Turkey 2001 "Sometimes when I'm high, I watch TV", video performance screening, Dulcinea, Istanbul, Turkey Artist's "Solitudo" contemporary art activity has been started. A solo contemporary art exhibition with 210 participants: I want my mirrors. Dulcinea Istanbul, Turkey 2000 co-exhibition "Veritas Omnia Vincit", Istanbul, Turkey Artist's "I want my mirrors" contemporary art activity has been started, Istanbul, Turkey 1999 "2th Interbalcanic Symposium of Visual Arts" and co-exhibition, Samotrache/Greece 1998 "...self", solo exhibition. Dulcinea, Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "The Other", Istanbul, Turkey 1996 "Citypaintings", solo exhibition. Habitat II/NGO Forum '96 art activities, Istanbul, Turkey Publication of book of poems: "Limpin Bird" (Aksak Kus) (168 page, 81 poem, 81 picture), Istanbul, Turkey 1995 Fourth Biennial of Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey co-exhibition "Young Activity/Borders and Beyong", Istanbul, Turkey 1991 Short film maker and director, ("Everything is as it is", 24', 16 mm. Included in TRT's "Young Cinematographers" programme), Istanbul, Turkey

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