Signs Taken in Wonder
Searching for Contemporary Istanbul
The MAK exhibition SIGNS TAKEN IN WONDER is a current snapshot of contemporary art production in Istanbul that sketches out an imaginative, up-to-date narrative on culture and history. In its “search for today’s Istanbul,” the exhibition presents three generations of artists living and working in Istanbul, Turkish artists who live abroad or elsewhere in Turkey, as well as other international artists.
The MAK exhibition takes its inspiration from an essay by Homi K. Bhabha, which describes the phenomenon of wonderment and amazement experienced during thediscovery of a new, foreign language and culture. A similar spirit informs Franco Moretti’s analysis of the relationship between world literatures and cultures in his book Signs Taken for Wonders (London, 1983). Curators Simon Rees and Bärbel Vischer will examine the development of narration and language as a topic of contemporary art. The wonderment is that of the curators developing the exhibition, as they confronted the metropolis and engaged in the process of discovering its various miracles, its culture and its art. At the same time, the reference to theoreticians and authors of world literature reflects the challenge of shedding light on a metropolis that encompasses European, Middle Eastern, and Asian geographies and cultures.
The exhibition intends to produce narratives of smallness in our era of bigness and globalization, presenting a collection of small worlds and little wonders. The influence wielded by Istanbul on the collective imaginary is reflected in the exhibition’s focus on the individual and individuality; that sets in motion constructions of “worldviews” and “worlds’ formation” as reflected in the works of important authors such as Mario Levi or Orhan Pamuk. Those images and ideas hold fascination for several of the artists featured in the exhibition, who explore the city’s rich store of popular antagonisms and ambivalences; others avoid involving themselves in this dialogue by examining paradigms of modernism established elsewhere in the world.
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue SIGNS TAKEN IN WONDER: Searching for Contemporary Art about Istanbul, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Simon Rees and Bärbel Vischer, texts by Vasif Kortun, Mario Levi, Markus Neuwirth, Bige Örer, Nikos Papastergiadis, Simon Rees, Gerhard Roiss, Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Bärbel Vischer, German/English, c. 192 pages, MAK Vienna / Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2013.
SİBEL HORADA “Yangın Günlükleri / Fire Chronicles”
7-30 June / 1-18 Septembre 2012 // Daire