7th Çanakkale Biennial with the title "Constellation" is starting from the 19th of September

7th Çanakkale Biennial with the title
12/08/2020    |    News

7th Çanakkale Biennial with the title "Constellation" is starting from the 19th of September

The 7th Çanakkale Biennial provides a focal point of intersecting and interacting connections, collaborations, sharing and dialogues. It launches on September 19th, 2020 with the title Takımyıldız/Constellation and the main supporter of the 7th edition is DARDANEL. The Biennial's main exhibitions that will run for a month will be curated by CABININ (Çanakkale Biennial Initiative) and Azra Tüzünoğlu and consists of four distinct yet interconnected exhibitions, including works from the Agah Uğur Collection, and a series of exhibitions, film screenings, Çanakkale-inspired walking trails, sound and fauna archives, panels and workshops will spread over a six-month period. This year’s programme will be presented in line with current pandemic measures.

Since ancient times, constellations separated by imaginary borders, have helped define the positions of the stars in the sky and constellations will be visible in Çanakkale by September onwards. The 7th Çanakkale Biennial with the title Takımyıldız/Constellation will be launched on September 19th 2020 with its main exhibitions that will run for one month, and in the course of 6months the biennial will host exhibitions, film screenings, Çanakkale-inspired walking trails, sound and fauna archives, panels and workshops.

In the context of the Biennial’s main exhibitions that will spread in various venues in Çanakkale city centre such as MAHAL, Korfmann Library, Corner House as well as in Troy Region, Constellation acts as a metaphor for CABININ’s efforts to mobilise and conjure up a communications network. At the same time, it acts as a representation of the clustering of interrelated dynamic artists. As the title suggests, the connections established in this exhibition present a possible cluster among an infinite number of potential configurations.

The 7th Çanakkale Biennial will prioritize to create the conditions to present these works to art-lovers at different times and in different venues and contexts within the course of six months, and depending on the developments related to the global covid-19 pandemic, if deemed necessary, the biennial content will also be shared through digital and online media.

“What Does it Look Like?”
“What Does It Look like?” exhibition, presented by CABININ, focuses on works that address the forms and methods of communication in a time where the act of conveying information through face to face dialogue is getting “weaker” by the day. The exhibition will concentrate on this intersection between arts and communication, with the contribution of international artists from different generations, as well as experts and local artists from Çanakkale and will take place in several different venues across the city centre. “What Does It Look Like?” will provide a context that focuses on our common heritage of symbols used as a tool of culture as it constructs reality. It will trigger thinking and production of the potential of art’s symbolic language to predicate using its vast power to associate. It will appeal to us from outside and beyond the daily experience, evoke the possibility of the change, transformation, metamorphosis of reality, hint at conflict and plurality and eventually talk to us about the possibility of communicating with symbols and creating meaning through them. With the cluster of events kicking off with this exhibition, CABININ intends to execute its versatile structure that is composed of long-running connections and collaborations.

“Culture: Damaged or Destroyed”
Azra Tüzünoğlu’s four-part exhibition titled “Culture: Damaged or Destroyed” hosts works by women artists only. The first part focuses on the transience of human life and the permanence of cultural assets -when in fact it is quite the opposite- and draws attention to “The Endangered Culture”. Threats rendered invisible become apparent: Looting of artefacts deemed normal by colonialism, women labour going unnoticed under the patriarchy and the peripheral art, as obscured by art historians. The second part of the exhibition is titled “The World As We Know It” and it points to the end of the world as we know it. The “observant” role we have assumed where we merely watch the time and the remnants of it without being able to interfere comes alive in the artists’ dark and witty works. The third part named “The Language of Advertising” concentrates on the artists that stole/transformed the language of advertisements: “The closer the look one takes at a word, the greater distance from which it looks back.” (as per Karl Kraus). The fourth and final part of the exhibition consists of a series of activities in Çanakkale, including a project that views urban life through the lens of “the sound” and aims to record and archive the urban sounds as an intangible form of cultural heritage, and further events such as workshops, talks and walking trails that aspires to develop research, maps and routes on Çanakkale’s fauna and architecture.

“Unwillingly But With Pleasure” – Agah Uğur Collection
Another component of the Constellation will be a selection from the Agah Uğur Collection. The exhibition titled “Unwillingly But With Pleasure” is being produced upon the offer/invitation by CABININ and will be curated by Azra Tüzünoğlu. It consists of selected works from Agah Uğur’s journey as a collector which he defines as “that what matters more than the destination"*. The works from Agah Uğur’s collection are put together under the theme of “game” and they come into play in their own rhythm and harmony amidst all the chaos and imperfections of the world and offer a temporary and limited perfection. If we were to scrutinise our actions, we could conclude that all human actions could in fact be a child’s play (Homo Ludens, Huizinga). In this respect, the “game” is the desire to carry the weight of one’s own life, even though living is absurd and the world is unfair. And above all, game is a voluntary action. The selected works from Uğur’s collection consists of works from Turkish contemporary art and post-2000 international video art.

“[Collecting] is the pursue of the destiny of objects without necessarily putting forward their functional use or utility. The most meaningful spell that a collector casts over it is to restrain that singular object in a gravitational field. The object freezes in this field, as the final excitement, the excitement of acquiring it passes over it.

A few words about the concept “Constellation / Takımyıldız”;
Since ancient times, constellations separated by imaginary borders, have helped define the positions of the stars in the sky. Mythologies have formed around characters resembled by these constellations. Constellations have been used by mankind in their efforts to interpret life and the universe as they observed space from the earth and connected dots from near and far. In other respects, a constellation is a notion referenced by the sociology of culture and is defined as “a point where thinking suddenly halts with overflowing tensions.” (A.K. Thompson via W. Benjamin). This is not an arbitrary point and image is “what-has-been, comes together in a flash with the now, to form a constellation.” (Susan Buck-Morss) Constellation is a phenomenon that occurs on the moment when different elements, facts, locations interrelate and intersects, and it is detectable and perceivable only when we start thinking about the potentials those moments possess: it refers to the pattern and not the fact. With this aspect, it reminds the clustering of artworks with one another as well as within the realm of art history.

In colloquial language Constellation is a concept that refers to a group of people or things that are interrelated or similar. In that sense, it refers to the setup that CABININ has developed for the 7th edition of the Çanakkale Biennial. It also represents the constitutive strategy of CABININ that consists of contemporary art-oriented relations, collaborations, as well as interdisciplinary interactions with disciplines such as architecture, archaeology, history, and ecology.

CABININ and the Çanakkale Biennial;
The Çanakkale Biennial Initiative (CABININ) operates within the framework of an art-focussed people-collective from different disciplines and social segments and it positions the Çanakkale Biennial as a platform where contemporary art attempts and experiences to form a dialogue between the various social segments. This way it strives to create an authentic context and memory for the modern-day art in Çanakkale and stimulate the thinking of the meaning, operation, function and potential of art here and now.
When Covid-19 entered our lives in early 2020, it brought a great deal of uncertainty together with it. As a locally organised platform for producing ideas and activities relating to arts and culture, we, CABININ – The Çanakkale Biennial Initiative, have been pursuing our dialogue and co-operation with our local, national and international components and dynamics during this period.
CABININ continues to offer a unique artistic experience to all our volunteers, partners and supporters who work day and night together with us, to our partners in the Biennial Youth, Biennial Child, AccessAbility and We Are At The Biennial social programmes and to the art enthusiasts who biennially have experienced the many contemporary examples of contemporary art. We keep opening conceptual and spatial contexts for artists to make and share art and keep developing productive relationships with different sectors, businesses and disciplines such as archaeology, architecture, design, cinema and literature that the biennial has touched, affected and mobilized in Çanakkale over the years.

Azra Tüzünoğlu;
Azra Tüzünoğlu was born in Istanbul in 1982. After she got her post-graduate diploma from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University Department of Sociology where she did her thesis on “Contemporary Arts in Turkey in the 90s”, she went on to work as an arts critic and editor. She worked as a writer in several art catalogues and publications such as the Artist, Birgun, Radikal and Sanat Dünyamız. She opened her first gallery OUTLET in 2008 where she hosted the very first exhibitions of many of Turkey’s 90’s generation artists. For three years, she carried out a busy programme hosting the works of around 60 national and international artists. She opened the PILOT Gallery in 2011 and the CoPilot Gallery in 2013 which she contemplated as an alternative exhibition venue and put into effect some rather challenging and ambitious projects. She produced the solo exhibitions of artists such as Burak Delier, Ali Miharbi, Fikret Atay and new generation artists such as Serra Tansel, Gozde Turkkan and Irem Tok. She collaborated with several national and international museums, art institutions and biennials, and enabled the acquirement of works by prominent museum collections. She worked towards increasing the international visibility of artists from Turkey. In addition to the group and solo exhibitions in the gallery, she took on the curatorship of the international group exhibition at the Pera Museum in August titled “Miniature 2.0: Miniature in Contemporary Art”.

Agah Uğur;
Agah Uğur graduated from Istanbul High School and the University of Birmingham’s Department of Industrial Engineering. He became the Managing Director of Borusan Holding in 1995 and later the CEO of the Borusan Group between 2001 and 2018. He is currently a member of the Borusan Holding Executive Board as well as Pegasus Airlines and Doğan Holding A.S. executive Boards. In addition to his career as a professional executive, he has chaired and worked in the executive and advisory boards or over 15 civil society and educational organisations. Uğur also carries out the Vice Chairman role of the Saha Foundation’s Management Board, where he was also a founding member; an organisation which provides grants for projects that aim to increase international awareness and recognition of contemporary art from Turkey. Uğur, has been a passionate collector of contemporary art since 2009 and privately owns a collection that composes of around 250 works of 70s, 80s, 90s Turkish art, some of which have historical importance. In the recent years he has been acquiring video works of international artists and exhibiting them in his exhibition space Why Not. He is striving to grow his collection for which he feels a certain responsibility to keep it bold, focussed, and holistic and that he believes it should have a mission and life independent of himself. His collection consists of national and international videos, installations, sounds, photographs, objects and even copyrighted ideas for future work with no concrete piece in existence, where idea, authenticity and manner of expression come to the forefront.