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Sarkis

Respiro

Respiro, meaning “breath” in Italian, is complemented by a musical composition by Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, which is based on the artist’s rendering of the rainbow’s seven colors as a system of partitions. 

SAHA supported the production of Sarkis’  ‘Respiro’, curated by Defne Ayas to be held in the Pavilion of Turkey at the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia between the dates 9 May–22 November 2015.

The installation ‘Respiro’ consists of two site-specific neon rainbows and two large-scale mirrors with fingerprints applied in watercolor by seven children—Abay, Anna, Aren, Helin, Karla, Claudia and Linda. In addition, it brings together several of Sarkis’ iconic sculptures, including an altar made out of red glass cut to the exact size of the one surrounded by Caravaggio paintings in the church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome.

Thirty-six stained glass panes created with a medieval technique thread the installation. These illuminated panes feature images that encrypt pain, war, Eros, and autobiography through a pictorial orchestra so as to point to a deft but subtle critique of humanity.

Respiro, meaning “breath” in Italian, is complemented by a musical composition by Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, which is based on the artist’s rendering of the rainbow’s seven colors as a system of partitions. The music is played day and night, together with the neon works breathing in and out for the duration of the exhibition. Respiro took its first breath on 3 April and became fully alive on 23 April 2015.

About Sarkis

Sarkis (b. 1938), a graduate of Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Istanbul, had his first exhibition at the Istanbul Art Gallery in 1960. A prominent figure of the global art scene, whose career spans more than five decades, Sarkis has worked with various mediums, and has been, since the end of the 1960s, an icon of installation art in particular. His works have been exhibited worldwide in established institutions, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Kunst-und-Ausstellungshalle, Bonn; The Louvre, Paris; Bode Museum, Berlin; and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. Sarkis was part of When Attitudes Become Form, Kunsthalle Bern, 1969; documenta VI and VII, Kassel, 1977 and 1982; and the biennials of Sydney, Shanghai, São Paulo, Moscow, and Istanbul. Most recently, Sarkis has had solo shows  at Galeri Manâ, Istanbul, 2013; ARTER, Istanbul, 2013; Museum Boijmans  Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2013; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, 2014 and 2011; Mamco, Museum of Contemporary Art, Geneva, 2011; Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2010; and Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, 2009. He has been living and working in Paris since 1964. Sarkis is represented by Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels.

About Defne Ayas

Defne Ayas (b. 1976) is the director of Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and publisher of its online journal WdWReview. Since 2005, she has been a curator at Performa, the biennial of performance art in New York, where she remains a curator-at-large. Ayas co-founded Arthub Asia, an Asia-wide production and research initiative (2007–present), and Blind Dates Project, an artistic platform that “match-made" artists and scholars to tackle what remains of the rupture of the Ottoman Empire.  In 2012, Ayas co-curated the 11th edition of the Baltic Triennial of International Art. Mother of Elâ Tara, Ayas is the co-curator of the 6th Moscow Biennale.