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Istanbul Modern’s collection exhibition, “Artists in Their Time”, focuses on how artists position their work and themselves within the concept of time. It suggests a conceptual field for examining, and reconciling, the links between an artist’s time and societal, cultural, natural and universal time. It unites artists from very different periods, geographies and disciplines around common themes.
“Artists in Their Time” highlights how artists experience their own times, feel anxious and frustrated that time emerges from the past and flows into the future, and form bonds between their own internal time and that of others. The exhibition also presents a base for discussing the place of art in transience and change and the transformation of art. Through which times does a work of art pass to become part of the present, of the moment we are now observing? What is the meaning of the temporal relationship that works of art establish with one another? What conditions do works of art resist, or what conditions are they absorbed into, in order to maintain their relevance in the future?
“Artists in Their Time” takes as its starting point the words of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1962), one of Turkey’s foremost intellectual and literary figures: “I am neither within time nor completely outside of it.” Tanpınar’s views about time illuminate the process by which artists come to terms with the relationship of their work with the past, the present and the future. Accordingly, this exhibition groups together works of art from distinct geographies, periods and disciplines that share the same emotions with respect to a variety of themes: the intersecting responses of abstract art from different periods; the role of materials and studios in the production of art; the transformation from landscapes and still lifes to the present conception of nature; the search for identity; attraction to the Higher and the spiritual; existential questioning; body politics; feminist approaches; the complex problems imposed by the new urban culture; the struggle against war, death and destruction; life stories from Istanbul, a metropolis defined by water and embracing the sea; and efforts to understand the people of Anatolia.
“Artists in Their Time” offers a roadmap for understanding artists’ intertemporal, existential journey through time as conceptualized in Tanpınar’s work. In an age when we are able to imagine a variety of times simultaneously, the exhibition also reminds us of the comprehensive breadth of Tanpınar’s views.
Artists: Fahrelnissa Zeid, Aliye Berger, Semiha Berksoy, Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Cihat Burak, Adnan Varınca, Avni Arbaş, Cafer Türkmen, Naile Akıncı, Aziz Albek, Nejad Melih Devrim, Neşet Günal, Gökşin Sipahioğlu, Adnan Çoker, Turan Erol, Ara Güler, Albert Bitran, Burhan Doğançay, Ömer Uluç, Erol Akyavaş, Yıldız Moran, Yüksel Arslan, Atilla Torunoğlu, Tülay Tura Börtecene, Devrim Erbil, Georg Baselitz, Mehmet Güleryüz, Hermann Nitsch, Sarkis, Nil Yalter, Neş’e Erdok, Burhan Uygur, Nur Koçak, Komet, Seyhun Topuz, Koray Ariş, Anselm Kiefer, Gülsün Karamustafa, Balkan Naci İslimyeli, Richard Wentworth, Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, Azade Köker, Fatma Tülin, Şahin Kaygun, Erdağ Aksel, Kemal Önsoy, Barbara & Zafer Baran, William Kentridge, Canan Tolon, Coşkun Aral, İnci Eviner, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Bedri Baykam, Handan Börüteçene, Tayfun Erdoğmuş, Julian Opie, İrfan Önürmen, Jennifer Steinkamp, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Canan Dağdelen, Selma Gürbüz, Hale Tenger, Kutluğ Ataman, Mark Bradford, Aydan Murtezaoğlu, Manuel Çıtak, Gül Ilgaz, Merih Akoğul, Michael Raedecker, Pae White, Liam Gillick, Ekrem Yalçındağ, Vahap Avşar, Murat Germen, Mustafa Horasan, Ferhat Özgür, Ramazan Bayrakoğlu, Monica Bonvicini, Taner Ceylan, Olafur Eliasson, Doug Aitken, Ergin Çavuşoğlu, Margherita Manzelli, Gülay Semercioğlu, Murat Akagündüz, Haluk Akakçe, Hüseyin Çağlayan, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Ali Kazma, Servet Koçyiğit, Nuri Kuzucan, Şener Özmen, Vahit Tuna, Sterling Ruby, Tomas Saraceno, Fikret Atay, Cevdet Erek, Ebru Uygun, Elliott Hundley, Matt Saunders, Nilbar Güreş, Seçkin Pirim, Ali Alışır, Murat Pulat, Ardan Özmenoğlu, Burcu Perçin, Burcu Yağcıoğlu, :mentalKLINIK
Doug Aitken, 1968
82,6 x 208,3 x 29,2 cm
High density foam, wood, mirror and painted glass
Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, 1957-2007
TREMOR, RUMOUR, HOOVER
270 x 445 cm
Sequins mounted on plastic plates
Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection
Video: Caner Kaya
Published in Turkish and English, the collection catalogue for “Artists in Their Time” presents, along with texts on artists and their works, two articles by Ahu Antmen, art historian and critic, and Handan İnci, literary historian and expert on Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar. Through the context of time, Antmen focuses on modernization in Turkey, and interaction between generations and their coming to terms with one another. İnci, on the other hand, presents a biographical account of Tanpınar with references to the notion of time as reflected in the author’s work.