100-word reviews are a format that we’re trying out at m-est on a regular basis. If you would like to contribute, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see the previous sets here and here.
Galeri Nev Istanbul
September 11–October 26, 2013
Thematically selected by curator Regis Durand from Ali Kazma’s archive of 8000+ photos, ‘‘The Book’’ is Kazma’s first photography exhibition in Turkey. Intimate images of everything related to the book and its production process, Kazma’s close-ups evoke book pages to be read and turned. In a rapidly digitalizing and mobilizing world, encountering behind-the-scenes of hand-made books and their display produce a sense enchantment and nostalgia. Serving as Kazma’s homage to the act of reading and libraries, the exhibition is well timed and placed. The aesthetization and romanticization of books bring to mind the struggles of Robinson Crusoe, a bookstore down the street from where the exhibition is taking place, leaving us to ponder.
September 26–October 26, 2013
“Old News” takes as a point of departure individual artists’ recirculation of old news. Jacob Fabricius, who initiated the project in 2004 has asked the artists to clip materials from various newspapers. Fabrious has then periodically made each artist’s selection into a newspaper. In the 8th issue of Old News (2008), Nevin Aladağ confronts collective memory by reprinting the covers of The New York Times, Herald Tribune, and The Boston Globe on September 11, 2001. In this process of reproducing the news, the exhibition contributes to the viewer’s understanding of the daily news surrounding us in the visual media from a distance as it shifts the context of each piece at display. In my opinion it is important that the exhibition of this ongoing project raises questions on archiving by presenting an archive that is simultaneously going through processes of formation and distribution.
September 12–October 25, 2013
On the second floor of an old garage, in the multi-ethnic, low-income neighborhood of Dolapdere, among automobile repair shops and vitrines full of dusty mannequins, the contrasting perfection of a light-reflecting sphere hits the viewer like a sudden anomaly. Here, Trevor Paglen’s non-functional surveillance satellite lends itself to public contemplation. Paglen’s research and installation might be understood as a comment on the specialized and fragmented state of scientific knowledge production in contemporary societies, but the meaning occurs in the shift he operates in by extracting space engineering from the field of covert military operations and bringing it back into the realm of public imagination.
The Lustful Turk
Patrizio Di Massimo
October 3–December 1, 2013
While I’m usually vehemently against people picking on the name of an exhibition, in the case of “The Lustful Turk,” I cannot help myself—the eponymous book is an “erotic epistolary novel” that inspired the works of the Italian artist Patrizio Di Massimo. While I do, visually, appreciate the titillating paintings that seek to subvert through mimicking racial, cultural, sexual tropes, I’m not convinced. The humor and visual lushness put aside, I feel that the works are too contrived, somehow missing that element of sincerity, so very crucial when dealing with social and historical (mis)perceptions. While the sculptural works more aptly deal with the slippage of cultural signifiers when re-contextualized, the paintings and the wallpaper fall flat, merely serving as illustrations for “The Lustful Turk,” the book.