What's Up: Istanbul
By HG Masters
The “What’s Up” blog visits urban art spaces across the Asia-Pacific region.
There are clear signs of a generational divide in some of the exhibitions that are on view in Istanbul at the moment. If you began a tour of the city’s art spaces at Arter, you would enter off of Istiklal Caddesi and immediately find yourself in a maze created by Hale Tenger (b. 1960) for “Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment” (through April 7). Like the hedgerows of a labyrinth, the walls of Tenger’s I Know People Like This III (2013) are tall and dense—here dense with images of mass street protests, shouting figures, police arresting people, scenes of chaos, devastation and anger. Printed on x-ray film and shown against light-box panels, the images of both plainly recognizable historical moments and unidentifiable instances are shown in roughly reverse chronological order, so that walking through the piece takes you back in time from the present (just a few weeks before the exhibition opened) to the 1960s. The archive, here, is an x-ray that allows us to see inside the (political) body and identify its illness and fractures.