At the center of her exhibition at K21, Banu Cennetoğlu presents two sprawling installations that reflect on the formation, circulation and archiving of private and public information and the underlying political, social, and cultural mechanisms
The first two rooms of the Bel Etage are taken up by six newspaper archives: “28.08.2010” (2010) encompasses copies of daily newspapers published on that day in Turkey; “14.01.2011” (2011) in Switzerland, “02.11.2011” (2011) in twenty Arabicspeaking countries, “29.06.2012” (2012) in Cyprus, “04.09.2014” (2014), in the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands, and “11.08.2015” (2015) in Germany, a comparative study demonstrates how our perception of events is determined by a hierarchical selection, by which and how information is mediated.
In the third room, the artist presents the multititled moving image installation “1 January 1970 – 21 March 2018 · H O W B E I T · Guilty feet have got no rhythm · Keçiboynuzu · AS IS · MurMur · I measure every grief I meet · Taq u Raq · A piercing Comfort it affords · Stitch · Made in Fall · Yes. But. We had a golden heart. · One day soon I’m gonna tell the moon about the crying game” (2018), whose most salient characteristic, in contrast to the newspaper archives, is the accumulation of unfiltered audiovisual data: the unedited chronological stream of the artist’s content in the projection with a running time of about 128 hours lays out her complete visual archive aggregated on hard drives, cameras, and cell phones from June 10, 2006, until March 21, 2018. Momentous as well as minor episodes in the artist’s professional and personal life—the birth of her daughter, family celebrations, her mother’s long illness, preparations for exhibitions, public appearances—are interwoven with events that have become elements of presumed collective memory. The images gradually form an unsparing and intimate portrait of the artist and her socialization as reflected in a succession of sociopolitical developments with farreaching repercussions.
These central installations are complemented by the two architectural interventions: “ICHWEISSZWARABERDENNOCH” (2015/2019), formed by twentythree mylar balloons, is inspired by the phrase “Je sais bien, mais quand même” coined by French psychoanalyst and ethnologist Octave Mannoni (1899–1989) to describe the psychological phenomenon of disavowal. Over the course of the exhibition, as the balloons’ helium leaks, the string of letters and its meaning disintegrate – Mannoni’s phrase and the assumptions it reflects literally looses its form.
For “‘A problematic’ triad?: Yellow Red Green” (2015/2019), Cennetoğlu tints the upper segments of the Bel Etage’s three windows with those three colors. The work transforms the gallery’s visual appearance and allows for a wide variety of connotations and interpretations, including political symbolism. Deliberately equivocal, it defies the beholder’s wish for an unambiguous message.
Banu Cennetoğlu (b. Ankara, 1970) lives and works in Istanbul. Selected solo exhibitions: SculptureCenter, New York (2019); Chisenhale Gallery, London (2018); Bonner Kunstverein (2015); Kunsthalle Basel (2011). Selected group exhibitions: Liverpool Biennial (2018); documenta 14, Athens and Kassel (2017); 10th Gwangju Biennial (2014); Manifesta 8, Murcia (2010); 53rd Venice Biennale/Pavilion of Turkey (2009).
Guest curator: Anna Goetz