ART / October 15, 2015

Istanbul Biennial


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The city has been charged with art in the past two months– the 14th Istanbul art biennial, which was contextualized on the concept of the salt water. Which is quite relevant when the location of the city is concerned. Surrounded by a great body of salty water, and divided by a strait, Istanbul straddles two continents, which her residents take for granted. The Bosphorus strait  channels an enormous amount of water between the Black sea and the Marmara sea… the same strait that has made way for  a massive influx of people while crafting mesmerizing mythology  throughout the ages… The biennial reflects on both the healing and  the  corroding power of salty water. My intention was to cover a couple of works that I would choose from over a thousand of art works spread all around the city. Yet, one work definitely  stood out: the Argentinian artist Adrian Villar Rojas‘ giant sculptures set against the concrete jungle of Istanbul. His installation titled “the most beautiful of all mothers“, I believe, is an ode to  our  mother nature. 

At first I was whining over the lack of sun when I arrived on the Princes islands. Then I realized how the gloomy sky set the mood for Rojas’ work.  As a species that threatens the whole eco system on the planet, it is us that  stare at  other species- most of the time we dominate; at its best  we pity or we tend to “preserve” them. Now, the tables are turned over. There are over 20 animals standing still on platform in the sea on the edge of an abandoned mansion’s garden- the mansion, where Trotsky took shelter when he was exiled from Stalin’s Russia in 1929.  They are staring right into our eyes… they are staring at our culture…  the ruins of our culture?


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Tags:  Adrian Villar Rojas animals Biennial islands nature sculptures

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