The columns held us up is Artists Space's collaboration with Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, comprised of an informal exhibition and series of events curated by Vasif Kortun and November Paynter.
At the end of 2007, Istanbul’s Platform Garanti paused its exhibition program to undergo a major structural and organizational transformation into an interdisciplinary institution developed in partnership with Garanti Galeri. Still awaiting the renovation’s completion, Platform’s offices, residency, and archive had continued to function in a temporary location. With this in mind, Artists Space had invited Platform to program its gallery for the duration of July 2009 (framed much like a one-month artist residency) as an opportunity to realize a series of physical activities in the interim period between the closing of Platform’s previous space and the launch of their new organization.
Platform created a program that continues to reflect its fundamental approach to collaboration, focus on local art situations, and facilitation of residencies and discussion, all within the walls of Artists Space, with whom these institutional characteristics were strongly shared. Works by New York based artists that Platform had previously partnered with, as well as works by a roster of international artists who had spent time on their residency program in Istanbul, were presented.
The columns held us up was a confluence of intertwining relationships and shared interests, based on the strength of thoughts and ideas to uphold or pillar a situation in the absence of structural parameters. Here, Platform took into consideration those artists who had supported it during its eight years of development. A number of the selected works in the exhibition stemmed from intensive research of layered, everyday systems that accumulated to propose intricate narratives. For example, a collaborative multimedia installation by Can Altay and Jeremiah Day investigates Istanbul via the chain of production of stuffed mussels, the city’s well-known street delicacy, while an itinerant work by Daniel Bozhkov hosts a site for storytellers that traces the journey of a family jewel, engraved with an Ottoman Persian poem, and the reflections on and translations of its meaning formed along the way. Other works had been chosen because they were, in themselves, systems or products of support, such as Celine Condorelli’s structural intervention based on the study portrayed in the 1475 painting St. Jerome in his Study by Italian Renaissance master Antonello da Messina. Further works in the exhibition that embraced these ideas included the videos Telematch Suburb by Wael Shawky and Self Portrait by Burt Barr; a series of photographs titled Hayvanat Bahçesi by Corey McCorkle; the slide installation Wonderland by Christodoulos Panayiotou, and the installation Kara-kum by the late Hüseyin Alptekin. Additional activities built on past interests and concerns: Celine Condorelli’s functioning intervention hosted a book collection point, where institutions and artists could donate books that would travel to Platform’s library in Istanbul at the close of the exhibition* (a project first presented as Collection Point at the Frieze Art Fair in 2006); a period of on-site work and research by artist Cevdet Erek; and the invited (cordially uninvited), a series of collaborative events and performances organized by past Platform resident Krist Gruijthuijsen that took place in Artists Space’s surrounding Soho neighborhood July 14-18.
Artists: Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Can Altay and Jeremiah Day, Burt Barr, Daniel Bozhkov, Céline Condorelli, Cevdet Erek, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Ben Kinmont, Lisa Oppenheim*, Adam Pendleton, Julika Rudelius, Alexandre Singh and Jordan Wolfson, Corey McCorkle, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Wael Shawky.