As a curator I am interested in the inter-dependence between art, architecture, society, and how all of them relate in the construction of public and urban space. This approach pushes me towards collaborations with artists whose artistic approach is not concentrated on producing a physical art work, but who are more concentrated on creating situations or interactions, which need local or social involvement, and reflect upon historical, social, or political contexts. Because of my background – having been born in a communist country and grown up in a new capitalistic reality - I like to observe and comment on the changes, differences and similarities, between so-called „East and West”. I explore problems of gender, as well as cultural, political, or historical identity. All these aspects led me to the conclusion that art, apart from its esthetic and decorative values, should be dependent on the situation and context, and towards building dialogues and confrontations between societies.
“Salomon saith, There is no new thing upon the earth. So that as Plato had an imagination, that all knowledge was but remembrance; so Salomon giveth his sentence, that all novelty is but oblivion.” Francis Bacon – The Essays
Europe’s obsession with authenticity, tokenism, and imperialism to the exclusion of good work, competency, or innovation is distracting to us. So much focus is placed on whether or not the artist is representative of the projected culture that very often the work is of secondary concern. Because of government and NGO funding structures in Europe and the rest of the world, prevailing tokenistic ideas around stale concepts such as ‘cross-cultural dialogue” become obstacles to the development of interesting work.
An eye-opening experience at an art fair in 2010 led us to launch a new investigation into how absurd this has become.Caravansarai was invited by two Stockholm-based artists to exhibit at the Supermarket Art Fair.The two artists live in Sweden, but are Icelandic/Dutch and Chilean.Representing Turkey were us two Americans.Our booth garnered much attention from the press and audiences alike.The work was talked-about, reviewed, and praised.And then came the moment when a well-known art critic asked us, “Oh are you the artists?I thought the artists were Turkish?!Why aren’t you wearing headscarves?”
It seems that the notion of work based on merit, mutual appreciation, and inspiration is lost amidst the idea that an artist from Turkey must be Turkish.No one would ask a Turkish artist why they are living and working in New York City, or Berlin, or Amsterdam.Designations about where people come from are at their essence, bigoted.And trying to colonize a local art scene is imperialistic.In a response to both the positive and negative experiences we have encountered as foreigners working in Turkey, our sensitivity to the work of those artists who stand outside the current of what is popular or trendy is hightened.For a continuing spiral into the more fringe and interesting works made in Istanbul, we have chosen three artists whose work is often overlooked or considered secondary.
A problem of reference to death has an universal value. Transcendental and also historical and individual character of death defines her as leaving the past. Vanishing is each time different. In the context of Polish art the way in which it is reffered to has both: a vast tradition and is being a subject of redefinition. I present three Polish artists: Lukasz Skapski from Cracow, Agata Michowska from Poznan and Anna Orlikowska from Lodz, who in different forms struggle with a problem of vanishing and death.
The essence of their perception is the redefinition of the past individual, collective, social and cultural. The reflection presented by them is precisely marked with specific context of Polish history from the time after II World War and of Polish People’s Republic (PRL), but at the same time it finds it’s broad references in the perspective of contemporary art and culture.