Exhibition

The Room With Forty Doors: The 40th Anniversary Of The Contemporary Artists Exhibitions

Exhibition
The Room With Forty Doors: The 40th Anniversary Of The Contemporary Artists Exhibitions

The Room With Forty Doors: The 40th Anniversary Of The Contemporary Artists Exhibitions

September 10 –November 19, 2022

Exhibition concept and exhibition design: Bülent Erkmen

Curator: Hasan Bülent Kahraman


The Room With Forty Doors

The relationship between the institutional history and the individual history of contemporary art is rather problematic. There is a distinct difference between the art that is envisioned on a personal level, defined by individual abilities and developed according to a personal understanding, and the art that is the shared sentiment and the act of a certain coterie. The transformation of an attitude, which was developed by pioneers, into a prevalent inclination is always a complex phenomenon.

Throughout its uninterrupted history since 1980, Contemporary Artists exhibitions have allowed such a transformation to take place. The history of these exhibitions was the result of an artistic sensitivity that preserved its internal dynamics while creating common denominators.

The line of continuity from the 1980s to the present contains the critical historical thresholds of contemporary art. 1989 is considered a milestone year. In the various interpretations, there is an agreement concerning the evaluation that contemporary art began that year, with the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is also rather extraordinary that the Contemporary Artists exhibitions have started in 1980 and advanced unrelentingly, maintaining a pioneering position throughout this time. The prevailing principle of the Contemporary Artists exhibitions and the process of institutionalization that these exhibitions have gone through has been the liberation of art from preconditions, limitations and rules, as well as its repositioning in a critical and oppositional stance.

The history of Contemporary Artists exhibitions does not just correspond to the history of contemporary art in Turkey, it has been an antecedent of it. Another point that is quite striking is that the Contemporary Artists exhibitions were initiated by the Association of Painting and Sculpture Museums with the aim of providing a new content to the concept of museum, which has since become a field of theoretical study in its own right. The intertwining of the concepts of museum and ‘contemporary artists’ is an extension of the foresighted and enlightened outlook of the people who have laid the foundations of these institutions, and who deserve our utmost respect.

Art is in opposition to everything, but most of all to itself. That is the privilege of art. In the limited conditions of Turkey, the only way art could have achieved this freedom and also this austerity was through an innovative, fluid and dynamic structure like the Contemporary Artists exhibitions. And the forty-year history serves as an affirmation of this evaluation, as well as acting as its testimony.

It is this quality that transcends the traditional, and is historical in its essence, which has led to the success of the Contemporary Artists exhibitions.

Contemporary Artists exhibitions is a room with forty doors. Within that room the labyrinths of memory are enclosed. And each door opens on to an adventure and a mystery.

In a labyrinth, getting lost is as much a virtue as finding one’s way.

Hasan Bülent Kahraman

10 September - 19 November 2022

Akbank Sanat

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