Exhibitions Releases

Bill Viola’s first exhibition in İstanbul
at Borusan Contemporary

20 August 2019 Tue

By hosting the first Istanbul exhibition of the pioneering video artist Bill Viola in Istanbul, Borusan Contemporary leads into the new artistic season that opens with the 16th Istanbul Biennial. Bill Viola: Impermanent features works from different phases of the artist’s oeuvre, including works  from the early years, to delve deeply into the world renowned artist’s practice. Curated by Necmi Sönmez, They Are Uttered and Left Unfinished All the Loves in the World II is an expanded continuation of the exhibition including a selection of works from the collection last season, inspired by Turgut Uyar.

As the new artistic season is coming up, Borusan Contemporary prepares to greet art enthusiasts with two new exhibitions. One of the exhibitions that will open on Saturday September 14 is Bill Viola: Impermanence, which is the first exhibition by the artist in Istanbul. Ten works will be featured in the exhibition.
Viola’s “invisible world”

Bill Viola has been investigating the mysteries of the human condition for more than forty years, employing video technology as a medium that during those decades evolved at a rapid pace. Each work seduces us with its hint of a grand narrative at work, a promise to reveal to us something we don’t already know about birth, death, fear, desire, or reality. Certainly the works are enigmatic, but with their lush visual clarity, and with the presence of humans and human agency, with some conflict being confronted, the viewers feel compelled to search for the story.

The works are like koans with their narratives—classic Buddhist riddles that are unresolvable, inviting us to experience a glimpse of what Viola calls the “invisible world” where our standard intellectual configurations of existence are revealed to be artificial.

Viola’s work has been shown worldwide and the artist has received numerous awards for his achievements, including a U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship (1980), the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (1989), XXI Catalonia International Prize (2009), and the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association (2011). His works have roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions, including Zen Buddhism, Islamic Sufism, and Christian mysticism.

In this exhibition curated by Kathleen Forde, there are themes that run throughout all ten works: immersion, transformation, a confrontation with basic elements of air, and water. That last one is among Viola’s most powerful motifs. In works such as Ascension and The Raft water is a force the human figures struggle with and are controlled by; while in other works, such as Madison and Sharon, the immersion in water is a peaceful, perhaps edenic experience, a connection to the dream state.

Chott el-Djerid, a much earlier video from 1979, addresses the question of perception, and serves to underpin the connective strands of the later pieces. Subtitled A Portrait in Light and Heat, it considers the phenomenon of a desert mirage, the dry Saharan lake of the title, and features the near-whiteout of a winter prairie landscape. The images are disorienting. We are perhaps meant to reckon with the disturbing notion that if our senses are unreliable then we have no mechanism for assessing the world or ourselves within it. Perhaps Viola is simply inviting us to engage in the principal activity that he says defines his work: “looking with great focus at the ordinary things around me.”

The exhibition, open on the weekends at Borusan Contemporary, is on view until September 13, 2020.


On Turgut Uyar’s path: With They Are Uttered and Left Unfinished All the Loves in the World II

Curated by Necmi Sönmez, They Are Uttered and Left Unfinished All the Loves in the World II is an expanded continuation of the exhibition including a selection of works from the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection last season, inspired by Turgut Uyar.
Bringing together important names of contemporary art from across the world, this exhibition aims to produce new interpretations through installations that strengthen the viewer’s esthetic senses, referring to today’s economic and social problems while forming a special parenthesis for visual arts using the images in Turgut Uyar’s poetry. Ranging from video-sculpture to photography, neon installations to interactive digital works, the exhibition foregrounds “experimental” approaches and the artists’ predictions, interpreted through digital media, visualizes what Uyar aptly described as the “troubles of today.”
The exhibition is on view until March 8, 2020.

Important information for visitors: Borusan Contemporary is only open on the weekends, 10am-7pm. There are guided tours available for free at the museum, 11am-6pm, every hour on the hour.
Art enthusiasts who would like to visit Borusan Contemporary on September 14-15 can take the boats available from Karaköy to the museum, organized specially for the first week of the 16th Istanbul Biennial. For more information on this option, please visit www.borusancontemporary.com.

Borusan Contemporary
Borusan Contemporary is a multi-platform program of exhibitions, events, educational activities, new commissions and site specific installations rooted in Borusan Contemporary Art Collection. These activities are defined by their specific focus on media arts broadly defined, i.e. artists who work with time, light, technology, video, software and beyond. Most of the program takes place at Perili Köşk Istanbul, and co-exists with the offices of Borusan Holding, in essence creating a unique museum in an office paradigm. The entire building including the galleries, office space, café, Borusan ArtStore and outdoor terraces with breathtaking views of the Bosphorus are open to the public on the weekends.
Rumelihisarı Mah. Baltalimanı Hisar Cad. No: 5 Perili Köşk, Sarıyer, İstanbul

Basın İletişim: Ezgi Atabilen / ezgia@tribeca.com.tr / 0506 870 65 60 / 0216 693 08 00 - 118

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