September 22, 2014

Istanbul Biennial Curator Reveals Concept Behind 'Saltwater' Theme

The Turkish art world took to the stage on the 10th of September, to attend the launch of the concept behind Istanbul’s upcoming art biennial. Called “Saltwater: a Theory of Thought Forms”, the exhibition is due to take place in a variety of unconventional venues throughout the city in year’s time (5 September- 1 November 2015).

To make the point, the curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, a former artistic director of Documenta 13, described the framework from the stalls of the gently dilapidating Haldun Taner theatre, originally constructed as a quay-side fruit and vegetable market on the Asian side of Istanbul. Those attending were seated in serried rows on the actors’ side of the proscenium arch.

The biennial will be “a city-wide project on the Bosphorus that considers different frequencies and patterns of waves, the currents and densities of water both visible and invisible, that poetically shape and transform the world,” Christov-Bakargiev said. Istanbul is sited at the pinch point between the cool waters of the Black Sea and the warmer, more saline Sea of Marmara and from one perspective its history has been shaped over the millennia by the brisk current between the two. Christov-Bakargiev said that the concept of waves “refers to history and resistance”.


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