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Didem Yazıcı & Müge Yılmaz

Why Not Ask Again? Arguments, Counter-arguments and Stories

SAHA provided support for the production of the new work by artist Müge Yılmaz and the exhibition by curator Didem Yazıcı at the 11th Shanghai Biennale held between 11 November 2016–12 March 2017.

Curated by Raqs Media Collective, the Shanghai Biennale exhibits works by 92 artists to be included in the eleventh edition, titled “Why Not Ask Again? Arguments, Counter-arguments and Stories”. In addition to the main exhibition, the biennial also features seven guest-curated sections, organized by Didem Yazıcı (Istanbul), Ivan Isaev (Moscow), Liu Tian (Hangzhou), Mouna Mekounar (Paris), Sabih Ahmed (Delhi), Srajana Kaikini (Bangalore), and Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi (Lagos).

The exhibition “Freedom is a State of Mind” curated by Didem Yazıcı defines a moment of contemplation driven by the traces left on the audience. In the context of infra-curatorial, this ‘post-exhibition’ desires to catch this moment and to get to the heart of the artistic - curatorial logic and imagination, not only through artworks that are physically shown, but also through sharing footnotes, poems, resonations, texts, voices, collages and other visual materials. The artists participating are Etel Adnan, Khaled Barakeh, Simone Fattal, Şener Özmen, Nicholas Wells, and István Zsíros.

Müge Yılmaz’s “The Water, the Soil, the Jungle” (2016) is an installation incorporating ghillie suits.  These are camouflage suits mostly used today by nature photographers and bird observers, but were also used in the past by hunters. Through the installation, Müge refers to human beings’ two particular manners of approaching nature; the tendencies of the subjectification of the nature that redefines nature as an actant, or the naturalization of the subject which underlines that nature always already embraces each and every living being including humans. The installation brings to mind the myths and stories in which nature is depicted as a talking or acting subject, while also referring to the current environmentalist discourse that may be summarized as “We are nature defending itself”.

First launched in 1996, the Shanghai Biennale is not only China's most established and influential international biennale of contemporary art, but also one of the most important biennales in Asia. With its changing theme every two years, the biennale has always taken Shanghai as its primary focus, gathering the most talented and cutting-edge international curators and artists at the pinnacle of the industry, to explore the ultimate connection between urban life, contemporary art and the public.

About Didem Yazıcı

Didem Yazıcı (1986) is a curator and writer based in Freiburg. She holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from the Städelschule and Goethe University, Frankfurt and studied Art History in Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul. Didem Yazıcı has been working in the curatorial team of Museum für Neue Kunst since 2015. She was the curatorial researcher-in-residence in Künstlerhaus Stuttgart in 2013, and prior to that, she worked at dOCUMENTA (13) as a project assistant from 2012 until 2013. 

About Müge Yılmaz

Müge Yılmaz (1985, Istanbul) is a visual artist who lives and works in the Netherlands. After completing photography studies in Italy, she was an artist in residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. Her works and talks have been presented at various platforms such as WorkSpace (Brussels), University of Amsterdam, SMAK (Ghent), Pratt Manhattan Gallery (New York), and Protocinema (Istanbul) among others.