Istanbul, February 12 () - An installation by the influential conceptual artist Sarkis, “Respiro” will be presented at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, curated by Okwui Enwezor.
The installation will be on exhibit at the biennale to be held from May 9 to Nov. 22. Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Pavilion of Turkey is curated by Defne Ayas and is located at the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, in the main venue of the biennale.
The artistic parameters of the Pavilion of Turkey at the 56th International Art Exhibition, were recently announced at a press meeting with the participation of Sarkis and Ayas.
“Sarkis has been working in different mediums for over half a century and his works have been exhibited in the prominent art centers, exhibitions and museums all around the world. We are grateful and proud to be able to share his exciting project ‘Respiro’ with the art world at the Pavilion of Turkey” said İKSV General Director Görgün Taner.
‘Reaching out beyond geopolitics’
A prominent figure in the global art world with a career spanning more than five decades, Sarkis has been renowned for his oeuvre that embraces culturally diverse genealogies of art and history, and their innate relationship to memory and space.
“In ‘Respiro’ I will be reaching out beyond geopolitics, to a more expansive context of a million plus years, going back to the creation of the universe and the beginning of time, back to the first-ever rainbow – the very first magical breaking point of light” said Sarkis at the press meeting, where he also detailed the exhibition plans using a whiteboard and markers.
“Instead of binding ourselves to specific instances within the histories of politics, religion, philosophy, and the arts, we will be embracing contemporaneity of both the present and the distant past in our continued attempt to defy stagnation” he said.
Through the arrangements of objects, images, thoughts, and codes that are released from both personal and collective memories, Sarkis will use the site of the pavilion as a theatrical stage for the cast of his works to investigate the ideas of infinite dialogue and transformation that lie at the core of his practice.
The exhibition titled “Respiro” meaning “breath” in Italian, will present an installation of mirrors, stained-glass panes, and site-specific neon works, and will be complemented by a composition by Jacopo Baboni-Schilingi, based on the artist’s drawing of the rainbow’s seven colors as a system of partitions.
A new publication will accompany Sarkis’s work. The book was conceived as a cross-referencing of Sarkis’s installation through key essays and short image readings.
Two simultaneous installations by Sarkis will open on May 7, one in Istanbul and one in Geneva, in a bid to create a continuous dialogue with wider audiences.