Exhibition

Contemporary Istanbul Bloom - Jannis Kounellis

Exhibition
Contemporary Istanbul Bloom - Jannis Kounellis

Date: 10-15 May 2022

Venue: Tersane İstanbul

Jannis Kounellis

Akbank Sanat is exhibiting Jannis Kounellis' work titled "Topkapı" at Contemporary Istanbul Bloom.

Jannis Kounellis is one of the most important artists of the 20th century. He is one of the founders of Arte Povera, one of the main movements that gave birth to today's art. But Kounellis should be seen as a revolutionary, innovative and pioneering artist within that movement as well. In 1969, he broke new ground with his work by placing 12 live horses in a gallery space. After that, Kounellis has always been the leading figure of 20th century art with his lyrical, poetic works, always political, dealing with the human condition, approaching reality with a very high sensitivity even in his highest abstractions.

Kounellis has always been interested in Istanbul. The texture of this city that combines histories, geographies and cultures has always excited him. Kounellis, who always grasped the materials, textures and objects with their own realities and the beyond meanings he obtained by transforming and abstracting, tried to hear this city by using objects, materials and textures.

Topkapı is a reference and allusion to Istanbul's history, its and its social and political past. As a person who always watches over the political and memory reality of the space, Kounellis was moving from the cages that externalize the interior and include the exterior when he was creating Topkapı. However, even if we do not know or know these facts, the blunt and closed layered structure of this work, and opening first into itself and then outward, makes us think of intertwined spaces, binary discourses, and dynamic transitions. Also, it should not be forgotten that if there is space, there is time.

Now we make this work and Topkapı Palace itself glance at each other. Is this a symmetry? Of course it is, but the multi-layered, parabolic structure of Kounellis' work also produces certain asymmetries. As the work approaches Topkapı Palace, it also moves away from it with this look. With Topkapı, Kounellis goes far beyond the Orientalist approach that comes to mind. Against the image of the East, which orientalists knit with masculine gaze and imaginary spaces, Kounellis presents a feminine language, expression, and concrete reality stemming from the work's own toughness.

This is the main reason why Topkapı is able to resist time, place, audience and even itself in front of Topkapı Palace.

Hasan Bülent Kahraman

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