Paweł Althamer
Draftsmen's Congress

Salt Beyoğlu

November 14 – November 23, 2014

Paweł Althamer, Draftsmen’s Congress, SALT Beyoğlu, 2014 Paweł Althamer, <i>Draftsmen’s Congress</i> [Ressamlar Kongresi], SALT Beyoğlu, 2014
Paweł Althamer, Draftsmen’s Congress, SALT Beyoğlu, 2014

SALT Beyoğlu, Forum

Draftsmen’s Congress is an ongoing project, initiated at the 7th Berlin Biennial in 2012, in which the artist Paweł Althamer invites visitors and local activists to communicate through images instead of words. This is how the curators Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza summarized the concept: “Everyone is invited to join the discussion through paint, charcoal, collage, and other traditional materials and techniques, and react to issues like current politics, symbols of power, religion, economic disasters, and so on. Not happy with what other people paint? Use a paintbrush to cover their images or draw your thoughts next to them. Paweł Althamer incites a conversation and asks us to have an honest talk. Be polite or politically incorrect, frustrated or outraged, and fight others in an image battle. Picture your love, your hate, your opinions and demands. Spit out the truth and speak out. […] The use of visual language is democratized in a mass conversation that only looks like an exhibition.”

A white cube space within a cultural institution is thus transformed from the background of art to the ground of creation and the gradual accumulation of drawings and paintings become an open-ended collective artwork, which in its final phase will be cut into pieces and given to participants. The rationale of the cultural institution is suspended: everything can be touched, painted over, the meanings proposed and questioned, art work divided and redistributed.

The idea of visual conversation is rooted in the teaching practice of the Polish architect and thinker Oskar Hansen, who at his legendary classes at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw encouraged students to play with images and look for unexpected outcomes. His idea of the “open form” finds a true realization in the set of rules that drive the Draftsmen’s Congress. Those rules are always tested in different contexts, from St. Elisabeth Church in Berlin-Mitte, the New Museum in New York, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing to the Coal Market in Gdańsk. Now you are invited to join the conversation in İstanbul. This edition is dedicated to the spiritual, irrational and religious aspects of image production; touching upon how one can transmit an experience that is beyond representation.

Draftsmen’s Congress is realized in the context of the exhibition Rainbow in the Dark at SALT Galata until January 18, 2015, organized in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland, as part of the cultural program celebrating the 600th anniversary of Polish-Turkish diplomatic relations throughout 2014.

Dofinansowano ze środków Ministra Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. Wydarzenie realizowane w ramach programu kulturalnego obchodów 600-lecia polsko-tureckich stosunków dyplomatycznych w 2014 roku.