It was a time of conversation

Salt Ulus

April 3 – June 2, 2013

Globalization-State, Misery, Violence                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ahmet Müderrisoğlu, İsimsiz, 1995
(<i>Küreselleşme-Devlet, Sefalet, Şiddet</i> sergisinden)
Ahmet Müderrisoğlu, Untitled, 1995
(From the Globalization-State, Misery, Violence exhibition)

SALT Ulus, Ankara

The first exhibition at SALT Ulus, It was a time of conversation opens on April 3. It was a time of conversation, an archive and research project, calls for a reevaluation of three exhibitions that took place in the early ‘90s in Turkey –Number Fifty/Memory/Recollection II (1993, İstanbul); Globalization-State, Misery, Violence (1995, İstanbul) and GAR [Railway Station] (1995, Ankara) – based on original documents from the period.

These exhibitions negotiated unconventional venues as opposed to galleries, cultural centers or historical buildings. Examining these exhibitions, It was a time of conversation seeks to provide an overview of collective and non-commercial initiatives by artists who focused on collaboration and the exchange of ideas during the early ‘90s – a time when institutionalization was still at a minimum and expectations were low.

Number Fifty/Memory/Recollection II was curated by Vasıf Kortun in 1993 at building #50 in Akaretler. Kortun and the artists decided to close the exhibition prematurely after a banner for the exhibition was replaced with a Democrat Party poster. GAR was part of the Taboos and Art symposium organized by Sanart (the Association of Support for Visual Arts in Turkey) at the Ankara Railway Station in 1995, and was a collective initiative of Selim Birsel, Vahap Avşar, Claude Leon and Füsun Okutan. The works in the exhibition were removed by the Station Directorate a day after opening, purportedly because they “demoralized society”. Curated by Ali Akay in 1995, Globalization-State, Misery, Violence was presented at Devlet Han in Beyoğlu – an artist space founded and run by Yasemin Baydar, Birol Demir, Ahmet Müderrisoğlu, İbrahim Şimşek and Emre Zeytinoğlu. The exhibition focused on state violence, violence against the state and violence between individuals.

In Number Fifty, politics displaced art; GAR disturbed the authorities, who duly shut it down; while Globalization-State, Misery, Violence had better luck in keeping with its oppositional stance in the context of the Biennial. It was a time of conversation brings together the archives of these three exhibitions, all organized during a period when individuals from different disciplines were beginning to see art as a “form of conversation” – when art itself emerged as an object of thought and the concept of the “curator” began to take hold. It takes these exhibitions – all products of collaboration and discussion – as a starting point from which to offer a new perspective on art in Turkey during the ‘90s.

The exhibition, first opened in the Open Archive at SALT Galata in February 2012, will be accompanied by parallel programs organized at SALT Ulus.