ISTANBUL: A group show brings together artworks by world-renowned artists working across a variety of mediums at Kalyon Kültür
Kalyon Kültür, one of the newest multidisciplinary arts and culture venues in Istanbul, is hosting a new exhibition focusing on the relationship between nature and art. Bringing together pioneering names in digital art, “Flora” welcomes Istanbulite art enthusiasts in Kalyon Kültür’s historic mansion, known as “Taş Konak,” in the upscale Nişantaşı neighborhood.
Endeavoring to open a space for different art disciplines, Kalyon Kültür has created a series of exhibitions revolving around the theme of nature and climate change. While the first show of this series is “Flora,” the next event will be the “Touched by Mankind” exhibition, which will be held in September, parallel to the 17th Istanbul Biennial of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV).
“Flora,” spread across two floors of Taş Konak, comprises works by Anna Ridler, Clement Valla, Francois Quevillon, Mat Collishaw, Mustafa Hulusi, Pascual Sisto, Quayola, Ryoichi Kurokawa and Sabrina Ratte. Curated by Ceren and Irmak Arkman, the show will remain open until April 16.
British artist Ridler, who works with information systems and datasets, attends the exhibition with her ”Mosaic Virus 2018-2019,” a generative adversarial network (GAN) video installation on three screens. The artwork blends ideas around capitalism, value and collapse from different reference points in history. The installation is inspired by the 17th-century phenomenon Tulipmania, in which speculation drove the value of tulip bulbs to extremes, named after a virus that damages the tulip bulbs. The artist emphasizes the weirdness of attributing economical value to nature. In the models that she created, Ridler uses the fluctuations in Bitcoin, which is seen as much more valuable than official currencies as an investment today, in place of the tulip virus.
American artist Valla draws attention to the relationship between people and computers in terms of making, seeing and reading with his work at the “Flora” exhibition. With his “Pointcloud.garden,” the artist invites audiences to an endless journey into a digital garden. Canadian artist Quevillon, on the other hand, also focuses on our relationships with space, time and one another by investigating how technology alters human cognition, culture and the environment. In his video loops “Rooting: Infrastructure” and “Rooting: Le Rocher,” the artist shows root systems growing in contexts that recall the complexity and resilience of living organisms.
Renowned British artist Collishaw showcases his “Whispering Weeds,” in which he revives the famous 1503 watercolor painting “Great Piece of Turf” by Albrecht Dürer. This pastoral painting, which is accepted as one of the masterpieces by Dürer, is actually famous for its observation of the details of the Bavarian landscape. It takes the feeling of simplicity and tranquility that carries the 16th-century nature representation of Dürer to the 21st-century.
London-based conceptual artist Hulusi, who is of Cypriot-Turkish descent, uses a diverse set of mediums for his work, such as painting, photography, video and installation. In “Flora,” he explores his own dislocated cultural background with his work which deals with hybrid identities. Inspired by his Eastern Mediterranean heritage, the artist also uses the flora and fauna of the island of Cyprus.
In his “En Plein Air,” Spanish artist Sisto presents the organically occurring markings native to a peculiar household plant commonly known as the spotted laurel or gold dust laurel (Aucuba Japonica). The golden spots sampled from the plant become the background of the artist’s video installation thanks to a set of algorithms that randomly arranges them. The mise-en-scene of the installation is completed with carpet and design smells.
In his “Natures (Natures 1, Natures 2, Natures 3)” for “Flora,” British artist Quoyola combines the footage of plants, dramatically lit and filmed against a black background with computer-generated material that explores the ambiguity of realism in the digital realm. The spectators watch fragile, gentle and romantic petals, leaves and stem shivering in a light breeze.
In her two-channel video installation “Ittrans,” Japanese artist Kurokawa focuses on the closeness and contrast between motion and stability. The work is inspired by “laminar-turbulent transition,” the process of a laminar flow becoming turbulent that is not fully understood scientifically at this time.
Canadian Ratte is the latest artist whose work is curated in “Flora.” Inspired by the writings of Donna J. Haraway, Ursula K. Le Guin and Greg Egan, the artist’s work “Floria” takes viewers into a speculative future, where samples of then-extinct plant species are preserved and displayed in a virtual archive room. “Floralia” is a simulation of ecosystems born from the fusion of technology and organic matter, where past and future coexist in a perpetual tension of the present.
For a breathing world
In addition, Kalyon Kültür runs an environmental campaign in parallel to its nature-themed exhibition program, donating a tree sapling for each visitor of “Flora.” Visitors are asked to fill in a form to accept Kalyon Kültür’s donation and receive the sapling certificates in their names. The cultural center aims to have an impact on actual life and help encourage climate change awareness that resonates with the exhibited new media works.
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