SAHA provides support for Füsun Onur’s new installation at the Pavilion of Turkey as well as the monographic publication prepared on the occasion of the biennial project, in addition to the production of new artworks by Özlem Altın and Müge Yılmaz, which are to be exhibited at the 59th International Art Exhibition curated by Cecilia Alemani. SAHA is also among the 21 supporters of the long-term venue for the Pavilion of Turkey for the period 2014-2034. The Venice Biennale is on view on 23 April – 27 November 2022 following the preview dates.
In her new installation titled Once upon a time..., conceived for the Pavilion of Turkey, Onur depicts a struggle waged by cats and mice, united against the governing logics of anthropocentrism, which harms nature and the planet by arrogantly ruling over them. Devised like the scenes of a stage play, the installation opens the door onto a new and exciting world. In a time when everyone’s life has been turned upside down, when all known truths are being questioned, Onur once again casts aside all expectations to establish her own scale, offering a masterwork about conceiving alternative worlds, creating new languages, learning from nonhumans, and loving and living together.
Füsun Onur,a pioneer of contemporary and conceptual art in Turkey, has pushed the boundaries of painting and sculpture for more than fifty years, giving form to her art through instinct and intuition and creating a language beyond time. In Once upon a time... she tells a meaningful story using a minimalist approach and silent music. Figures made by bending and twisting metal wire dance, make music, travel, fall in love. Some of them are suspended in space, others reenact the scenes of a stage play with their ping-pong-ball heads and colourfull clothes made from crepe paper. In a time when everyone’s life has been turned upside down, when all known truths are being questioned, Onur offers a masterwork on conceiving alternative worlds, creating new languages, learning from nonhumans, loving and living together.
Özlem Altın (1977, Germany) works with a vast archive of self-made and found images, including texts, replicas and prints from books, pictures pilfered from magazines or the Internet, artistic material from museum collections, and her own photographs and paintings, which she assembles in multi-layered collages and site-specific installations. While Altın references visual strategies of appropriation and recombination of mass media images and text used throughout 20th century-art history, her own works underscore the narratives and interconnections that occur when disparate pictures are brought into proximity. In these narratives, the body is made central, presented, as the artist has said, “as means for the diffusion of knowledge, experience, communication, and exchange.” Altın’s new work Translucent shield (calling) (2022) is a collage of black-and-white photographs, both found and taken by the artist, printed on white canvas. The collaged imagery includes photographs that Altın took while accompanying her friend in labor and relates either directly or metaphorically to birth, death, and the force and violence of transitions between states of being. Layered with transparent white ink that creates the impression of an over-exposed photograph or an image seen through a porcelain screen, the work confuses inside and outside, creating a visual diagram of the liminal space between life and death.
Müge Yılmaz, (b. 1985, Istanbul, Turkey) lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her research presents speculative narratives about the future through photography, performance and installation. Recent exhibitions include Loops, De APPEL, Amsterdam (2018); Meeting the Universe Halfway, Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf (2018); Performatik17, Brussels (2017); Night Eyes, M HKA, Antwerp (2017); and Why Not Ask Again?, 11th Shanghai Biennial (2016). She has been a resident artist at Asia Culture Center (2016) and is alumna of Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (2013-2014) in Amsterdam.
Müge Yilmaz invites us to understand nature as its own thinking, acting being, and to join her in installations and rituals for protection. Yilmaz’s sculptures and performances draw on myriad ancient references read through feminist lenses, ranging from hieroglyphics from Neolithic Anatolia and hamsas, or Hands of Fatima, amulets; to traditional tattoos, made from ash mixed with a mother’s milk made for a new daughter. Her sculptures appear like painted shadows of gods, animals, and gestures frozen in time against a temple or cave wall. Here, Yilmaz realises The Adventures of Umay Ixa Kayakızı (2022). The installation is the library and life’s work of Umay, a retired astronaut. In Umay’s secret studiolo on an island ship, she has dedicated her life to reading and writing feminist science fiction – rare works written by women under their own names, as well as under male pseudonyms. Hand-carved by Umay, the totemic sculptures painted in vibrant blues and greens become the shelves that house her library, artefacts, and memorabilia – all the astronaut’s own grandchildren. The figures feature the heads of animals, hands holding powerful glyphs, and animating eyes that stare back and address the viewer.