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Ayşe Erkmen, "On Water"

SAHA provided support for the production of the new work “On Water” by Ayşe Erkmen participating in Skulptur Projekte 2017 held between 10 June–1 October 2017.

For Skulptur Projekte 2017, Ayşe Erkmen selected Münster’s inland harbour as her location. Just below the surface of the water between the bustling Nordkai (northern pier) and the industrialized Südkai (southern pier) she installed a jetty that links the two riverbanks. It creates the impression that visitors are walking on water. In that sense, they become visible actors on Erkmen’s stage. In addition, the artist points out problems of a sociological and city-planning nature: How are borders drawn on maps, and how is sociocultural access achieved on the drawing board? How can existing hurdles be overcome, both physically and metaphorically?

The courses of rivers have often been used on political maps as a possible place to draw borders, while waterways and man-made canals served as starting points and catalysts for urban development. Accordingly, waterways have had an ambiguous place in the processes of civilization, representing either possibility or restriction. Erkmen not only mirrors this divide in her piece for Skulptur Projekte 2017, she literally bridges it. In addition to that, her jetty consists of sunken containers which are normally used to transport goods on ships on the surface of the water. The municipal harbour of the Danube-Ems Canal, which is rarely used by ships, now becomes accessible on foot to Münster’s residents and visitors, thus linking two separate urban spaces that were previously separated by the harbour basin—using a water bridge rather than a land bridge.

About Ayşe Erkmen

Ayşe Erkmen lives and works in Berlin and Istanbul. Erkmen graduated from Mimar Sinan University’s Department of Sculpture in 1997. In 1993, she participated in the DAAD International Artist Residency Programme (Berliner Künstlerprogramm) in Berlin. From 1998 to 1999 Erkmen worked as the Arnold Bode Professor at Kassel Art Academy, and as lecturer at Frankfurt Staedeschule
(2000–2007). In 2002, she was awarded the Maria Sibylla Merian prize at Hessen Province Germany.

Among numerous international exhibitions Erkmen has participated in are the 2nd, 3rd and 13th Istanbul Biennial; The Pavilion of Turkey at the 54th Venice Biennale; Manifesta 1, Shanghai, Berlin, Gwangju, Sharjah Limerick and Scape Biennials; the Folkestone and Echigo Tsunami Triennales. The most recent shows she has been on are Pond to Pool to Pond, Saidaji Temple, Nara, Japan (2016); Uncertain States, Akademie der Künste, Berlin (2016); “A” exhibition, Gent SMAK (2016); Strange Pilgrims, Austin Contemporary (2016); Imaginary Audience Scale, Artspace New Zealand (2015); Fingerspiztgefühl, Galerie Barbara Weiss (2015); Une Histoire Art, Architecture, Design des Annees 1980 a nos Jours, Center Pompidou, Paris (2014); Intervals, The Curve Barbican Centre, London (2015); More than Sound, Bonniers Konsthall (2012). Erkmen participated in Münster Sculpture Projekte (Müenster Sculpture Project) with her new project, in 2017.

About the Skulptur Projekte Münster

The history of Skulptur Projekte Münster is closely linked with the idea of creating a public not just with but also for art. The exhibition was started in 1977 and takes place only every ten years. Its concept is very much based on the ideas of the participating artists and has remained essentially unchanged over the past decades: the curatorial team invites artists from all over the globe to explore the relationship between art, the public space, and the urban environment and develop new, site-specific works. Selected projects are realized in the urban setting and inscribe themselves in the structural, historical and societal contexts of the city. At the same time, the projects point beyond the specific place: themes related to the global present and reflections on contemporary concepts of sculpture are as much an integral part of the artistic inquiries as investigation into the basic parameters of publicness and the public realm.