Get Ready to Sweat in This Exhibition
Uncanny Games 1
- Serie: Kunst
Uncanny Games is hosted by Tahtakale Hamamı Çarşısı, which is built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (1451-1481), among the oldest historic works of art in the Ottoman Empire and it is also one of the largest Turkish baths. Currently being used as an office block, Hamam now suprises its visitors with a contemporary exhibition curated by Öznur Güzel Karasu. We fed our curiosity of the space and the exhibition with Öznur's answers.
What differentiates PG Art Gallery from the others in Istanbul?
First of all, Pg Art Gallery is amongst the oldest galleries in Istanbul. Since its establishment in 1993, it has harboured many of the Turkey’s most important artists. Since the beginning of 2000s, it has begun accommodating young artists and rendered them visible in the Turkish contemporary art scene. Two years ago, we started out with Pg Art Projects, a long-yearned dream of our gallery’s owner, Pırıl Güleşçi Arıkonmaz. It’s a manifestation that steps outside the artist roster of our gallery. Through these exhibitions in pop-up locations, we decode our discourse upon Turkish art while including artists without a gallery’s representation. Our latest exhibition is “Uncanny Games”, taking place in Tahtakale Hamam with the contributions of 22 artists. I conducted the exhibitions curatorship along with Ms Arıkonmaz’s 18 eighteen years of experience as a gallerist, which was of crucial importance in this project with her consultancy.
How do you find sponsors for special projects?
Actually, being a well-known gallery is one of the factors that increases faith. With the addition of the selection of the title, artists and location, our search for sponsor was rapidly concluded. I must also admit that we were also rather meticulous about sponsorship. Our sponsor for this project, ROMAN, a fashion brand of Turkey, accommodated our every expectation. It was indeed a very special experience to collaborate with them.
How do you describe the work of curator in an exhibition?
“Uncanny Games” is my first experience as a curator. As far as I see it, curatorship cannot be learned on paper. Above all, one needs to have an artistic perspective and years of experience, not to mention things to say…
The curator is the one who envisions the exhibitions in the broadest sense. After designating the location, one has to decide which artists to include, having kept track on their works for a long period. Afterwards, there’s the planning of the projects within the exhibition space, which varies with the difficulties presented by the location. Apart form these, there are issues such as finding sponsors, developing the exhibition space to an optimal level and solving possible problems that emerge along the way. One has to take immediate decisions in very limited periods of time.
What lies down under the title of the exhibition, Uncanny Games?
The word ‘game’ always seems to evoke ‘children’s games’. However, etymologically, game possesses a far more profound meaning and is an important issue in cultural history. The playful courses in the rituals of the ancient man are one of its most basic manifestations. Game, as we all it, is curative; it provides some sort of soothing towards “desire”. However, above all, game has numerous other semantic aspects. Perceived from a different perspective, many deceptions to which we fall prey, can be called games.
One of the most distinct aspects of this exhibition is the convergence of different points of view. That’s where the ‘uncanny’ comes in. Regardless of the artists’ perception of the ‘game’, emphases of ‘untrustworthiness’ and ‘despite common belief’ are inadvertently articulated. In other words, we all ask of the spectator to ponder beyond what is seen.