The Biennale di Venezia has been one of the world’s most prestigious cultural institutions since its inception in 1895. Since 1991, Turkey has participated in the Biennale, and in 2003, the Pavilion of Turkey was initiated as a temporary exhibition space featuring selected Turkish artists. Beral Madra curated the first exhibition, and it featured the works of Gül Ilgaz, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Neriman Polat, Nazif Topçuoğlu and Nuri Bilge Ceylan under the title In Limbo. This year for the 57th edition of the Biennale, the Pavilion features a new work by Turkish artist Cevdet Erek. Organized by IKSV (the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts), the exhibition, which is on display until November 26, 2017, features a site-specific installation under the title ÇIN.
Through the use of architecture and sound, the installation explores poetic and political concepts through its title ÇIN, which represents both reverberation (the prolongation of a sound after it occurs) and tinnitus (ringing in the ears due to acoustical trauma). Through this exhibition, the artist has brought together an architectural construction and a multichannel sound installation that guide physical passage and change according to the visitor’s position and direction. Memory also plays a vital role in the installation, as structures such as stairs or ramps cause physical motions that summon memories of cities where such structures are present. As such, ÇIN is both tangible and intangible due to its physical presence but also the memories and emotions that it inspires through its form and sounds.
As for its artist, Istanbul local Cevdet Erek studied architecture and sound engineering and design before becoming an artist-in-residence at Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. His work has been previously presented at such renowned events as dOCUMENTA (2012), the Istanbul Biennial (2003, 2013 and 2015), the Sydney Biennial (2016), and the Sharjah Biennial (2013). Erek’s work focuses on rhythm and site specificity, as he combines video, sound, and images to change the viewer’s perception of space. His works also bring together two seemingly opposing components, such as architecture and impulse, as he creates a bridge between the rational and the emotional worlds.
Previously, the Pavilion of Turkey has also presented works by famous fashion designer Hüseyin Çağlayan (a video work entitled Absent Presence featuring Tilda Swinton); influential artist Sarkis (a project entitled Respiro); and the project Places of Memory, with a list of important artists (Ali Taptık, Alper Derinboğaz, Candaş Şişman, Metehan Özcan and Serkan Taycan). With the initiation of IKSV in 2014, Turkey was able to obtain a long-term venue within the Biennale and will continue to host exhibitions until 2034 at Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, which is one of the two main venues of the event.