Exhibition

Contemporary Istanbul
The Carnival of Corona Diaries

Exhibition
Contemporary Istanbul The Carnival of Corona Diaries

Artists: Suat Akdemir, Deniz Aktaş, Ansen, Sırma Doruk, Genco Gülan, Seydi Murat Koç, Sıtkı Kösemen, Sinan Logie, Onur Mansız, Seçkin Pirim, Gülin Hayat Topdemir, Hande Varsat

Curator: Hasan Bülent Kahraman

We know that illness is never just a disease, but a metaphor. And so are pandemics and epidemics. Epidemics are among the most significant social realities that have persisted since the Middle Ages.

To a certain degree, epidemics had an important part to play in the emergence of modernization. The measures taken by modernity in this regard have both positive and negative aspects affecting our lives. It is a fact that the hospitals, the measures of protection and the methods of prevention impose restrictions on our lives, and that implementing these entails a strict order.

Even the recently bygone twentieth century witnessed major epidemics. We must admit, we were not expecting an epidemic in the twenty-first century, in an age when medical sciences have advanced so much. But here it is, and it has forcefully split our lives in two. For over 10 months in some societies and for 7 months in our country, we have been living in a completely different world.

But there is more: the methods of protection resulted in the state no longer being an abstract entity. Once again, in all its dominion, the state started to control our lives. The relationships among people were severed. Societies are experiencing new problems because of the pandemic and observing that the old problems are getting increasingly grievous.

But there is also resistance. The human being is a creature that resists. Resistance is a matter of consciousness. Human beings resist in proportion to their awareness. And we too have done our best in terms of resistance to the extent of our capabilities in the days of corona.

All along we have known that art is a tool and means of resistance. For thousands of years humanity has been resisting by producing art. And it was no different this time around. In our enclosed lives, in our lives in fact curtained off from ourselves, we all resisted by producing art. Through resistance we asserted our existence.

We produced art in our homes, at the coastal cities we have retreated to, in our secret workshops, or at least within ourselves. Now we are bringing these together in a festivity, with the feeling of a carnival that necessarily requires the other, that is civilian, pluralist, participatory, that transcends the rules and borders.

With the knowledge that pleasure, that joy is the most powerful means of resistance.

Art has always been a child of Dionysos!..

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