Dirimart is pleased to announce MIRROR, an exhibition by Sarkis conceived together by Ceren Erdem. In MIRROR, a space for refractions, proliferations, screams, and silence open as the artist’s timeless works from different periods that mark the time encounter the new works for this exhibition.
Placing the theory of memory at the core of his practice, Sarkis is introducing a layered critical view to today’s social and political issues by inviting various witnesses from the history to the exhibition. The works transform the art’s faculty of bringing the traces of the past to the present into the competence in conjuring up the future through artistic production. A battle scene from the 15th century and the responding lightning provoke the gallery as they transmute into neon installations. In this space, golden rainbows, images of which histories are touched by Kintsugi technique, moments captured and enlightened by stained glasses, spoils of war coated with lipstick convene and live in a mirror. And many photographs witnessing this confrontation integrate with the faces staring at them and reflect our world like a giant mirror.
What is the MIRROR going to tell us? What pains were the spears emerging from the battle of San Romano, Bismarck sailing into the gallery, a record heralding violence bearing? Why is the crash of the bombardment of the Holland-Hause Library in London in 1940 still echoing today? Is it these agonies or the hope that we believe the future promises that warp a rainbow? Sarkis’ works reflected from the traces the years left on the walls of his studio and surrounding us are inviting us to remember, to contemplate, and to dream.
Within this structure, The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne, compiled by Sarkis and the art historian Uwe Fleckner and published in Turkish for the first time for this exhibition, constitutes one of its cornerstones. Photographs of Sarkis’ studio in Paris, Villejuif accompany the texts on the theory of memory that vary from Plato to Nietzsche, from Warburg to Derrida. In the previous French, German, and English editions, photographs from the artist’s home-studio, which he moved out in 2016 after forty-five years, were the complements. The Treasure Chests of Mnemosyne and Memory and Infinity: On Sarkis’ Corpus (in Turkish) with its recently published extended second edition meet the audience in the reading room within the exhibition. The images of these two studios spilling out of the pages of the book and spreading on the walls of the gallery meet with the works that they were breathing together in Paris, this time in Istanbul. Mnemosyne is still on duty.
Sarkis (b. 1938), a graduate of Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Istanbul, had his first exhibition at the Istanbul Art Gallery in 1960. A prominent figure of global art scene, whose career spans more than five decades, Sarkis has worked with various mediums and has been, since the end of 1960s, an icon of installation art in particular. His works have been exhibited worldwide in established institutions, including Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Kunst-und-Austellungshalle, Bonn; Louvre Museum, Paris; Bode Museum, Berlin; Fondazione MAXXI, Rome; and Kunsthalle Dusseldorf. When Attitudes Become Form, Kunsthalle Bern, 1969; documenta VI, documenta VII, Kassel, 1977, 1982; and the Biennials of Sydney, Shanghai, Sao Paulo, Moscow, and Istanbul are among the most significant exhibitions he participated. His recent solo and group exhibitions include Sarkis avec Paradjanov, Villa Empain – Fondation Boghossian, Brussels, 2016; Il Grido, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Brussels, 2016; Istanbul. Passion, Joy, Fury, Fondazione MAXXI, Rome, 2015; Salt Water, 14th Istanbul Biennial, 2016; Respiro, 56th Venice Biennale, Turkish Pavilion, 2015; Armenity, 56th Venice Biennale, Armenian Pavilion, group exhibition, 2015; Sarkis – Cage/Ryoanji Interpretation, ARTER, Istanbul, 2013; Ballads, Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, Roterdam, 2012. In 1986, the artist presented the exhibition Çaylak Sokak at Maçka Art Gallery. His works are included in many museum and private collections. The artist is represented by Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris & Brussels. For further information: www.sarkis.fr.
Ceren Erdem (b. 1979) is a curator and writer based in New York and Istanbul. In recent years, she has worked exhibitions and publications in New York, Istanbul, Rome, Munich and Seoul as well as online platforms. The recent exhibitions she curated are Inverse Greyscale, Pasinger Fabrik, Munich, 2016; Istanbul. Passion, Joy, Fury, Fondazione MAXXI, Rome, 2015. Ceren Erdem received her MA in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies at Columbia University, New York and in Visual Arts - Visual Communication Design at Sabanci University, Istanbul.