Hera Büyüktaşcıyan, Panta Rhei, 2019 © the artist
Neither on the Ground, nor in the Sky
ifa Gallery Berlin | 29.03.2019 – 30.06.2019
Exhibition | Hera Büyüktaşcıyan’s solo exhibition comprises newly commissioned work that poetically explores what migration, cultural heritage, belonging and displacement mean. The project is inspired by a floor mosaic in Berlin’s Pergamon Museum known as the Alexandrine Parakeet Mosaic (160–150 BC) that was taken from the ancient Palace of Pergamon now Bergama in Turkey. While the provenance and ownership of antiquities and colonial artefacts is currently debated extensively in academia and museum circles Büyüktaşcıyan broadens these notions and takes us on a journey that traverses time and place by touching on universal sensibilities such as loss, identity, and history.
The exhibition title alludes to the neighbourhood adjacent to the Pergamon excavation site, where some of the houses are built on a bridge, thus appearing to be suspended between earth and sky, like a bird perched on a tree. The figure of the Alexandrine parakeet is a motif that resonates throughout the works. In the video that gives the exhibition its title, this bird acts as a guide and flits between modern-day Bergama and the ruins of bygone Pergamon. In the exhibition, the parakeet performs an ambiguous role, simultaneously a symbol of freedom and historical iconographic captivity. However, the artist has set this bird free to roam the plains of the excavation site and the modern Anatolian city. It bears witness to change and the way in which this once powerful and glorious city has now been transformed into a populous urban centre, which still retains traces of its past. In this respect, the bird occupies a time and space that is in-between, a liminal space, neither on the ground, nor in the sky, neither in the past, nor in the present.
Hera Büyüktaşcıyan (born 1984 in Istanbul) lives and works in Istanbul and Athens. Her practice explores issues of identity, memory, history, time and space. She often draws on metaphors from local myths and on historic and iconographic elements of various geographies to tell the untold. Water is a recurring theme in her oeuvre. Recent exhibitions include: “Dhaka Art Summit” (2018); FIAC, Paris (2017); “Write Injuries on Sand and Kindness in Marble”, Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2017); “Freundschaftsspiel” Istanbul: Freiburg, Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg (2016); “Istanbul. Passion, Joy, Fury”, MAXXI, Rome (2015); “Saltwater”, 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015); “Armenity”, Armenian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale (2015); “Fishbone”, State of Concept, Athens (2015); “The Jerusalem Show VII”, Jerusalem (2014); “The Land Across the Blind”, Galeri Mana, Istanbul, (2014); “In Situ, PiST///”, Istanbul (2013); “Envy, Enmity, Embarrassment”, ARTER, Istanbul (2013).
Nat Muller is an independent curator and writer based between Birmingham and Amsterdam. She has written extensively on art from the Middle East and has curated screenings inter alia for the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Norwegian Short Film Festival, International Short Film Festival Oberhausen. Recent exhibitions include “Spectral Imprints” for the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2012); “This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time” at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and American University of Beirut Gallery, Beirut (2014/15); “Pattern Recognition” at Qalandiya International, Ramallah/The Mosaic Rooms, London. Nat Muller has been appointed curator of the Danish Pavilion for the 58th Venice Biennale. She is an AHRC-funded PhD researcher at Birmingham City University.
The exhibition is supported by SAHA Dernegi.
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ifa Gallery Berlin
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