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The Pavilion of Turkey attracted great interest

The 54th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale opened to visitors on Saturday, 4 June. Alongside the main exhibition “ILLUMInations”, curated by Bice Curiger, the Biennale features 84 national pavilions.

Ayşe Erkmen represents Turkey with a sculptural installation titled “Plan B”. The Pavilion is curated by Fulya Erdemci, with Danae Mossman as curatorial collaborator. The Pavilion is located at Artiglierie, Arsenale, the main venue of the Biennale.

The Pavilion of Turkey, organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), is sponsored by FIAT and is realised under the auspices of Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the contribution of The Promotion Fund of the Turkish Prime Ministry. FIAT will be sponsoring the Pavilion of Turkey for the next edition of the Biennale to be realised in 2013. The project is also supported by the “Friends of the Pavilion of Turkey” programme.

The Pavilion of Turkey opened to international art world with a reception held on Friday 3 June. Hosted by Bülent Eczacıbaşı, Chairman of the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts and Ali Pandır, TOFAŞ CEO, on behalf of the Pavilion’s sponsor FIAT, the opening reception was attended by a large number of international media, curators, museum and gallery directors and art critics. Designed by industrial designer Konstantin Grcic as part of the Plan B project, the Pavilion’s tote bag attracted considerable attention and guarenteed the Pavillion high visibility during the week of the Biennales’ opening.

“Plan B”: A Water Purification Unit in the Arsenale Ayşe Erkmen’s sculptural installation “Plan B” draws on the ineluctable and complex relationship Venice has with water. Her project transforms a room inside the Arsenale into a complex water purification unit where machines become sculptures, enveloping the audience inside of the filtration process that eventually provides clean, drinkable water back to the canal.

Each component of the filtration unit has been separated out, disseminating the machinery throughout the room then reconnecting the elements with extended pipes. Erkmen choreographs the elegant industrial forms to draw attention to the process of transformation, at the end of which the purified water is returned to the canal: a futile, yet courageous gesture against the overwhelming scale of the canal and the ocean.

Formally, Erkmen’s practice often comments on minimalism’s relationship between industrial forms and the body. Here the installation generates a visceral experience for viewers who are embodied within the mechanism of transformation. “Plan B” abstractly conveys systems and processes that we are part of daily: blood circulating through the body, Capital flowing through borders, the mechanisms of authority, the supply of natural resources while proffering a poetic reference to the potentiality of change. Simultaneously the work is a subtly humorous critique of the euphoria for unsustainable short-lived solutions and changes within the complex systems and structures that surround us.

A new publication accompanies Ayşe Erkmen’s installation “Plan B”. The book features commissioned essays by curator Fulya Erdemci, historian Edhem Eldem, and art historian and critic Gregory Volk, along with an interview between Danae Mossman and Ayşe Erkmen that is joined by Fulya Erdemci. Designed by Bülent Erkmen and co-published by İKSV and Yapı Kredi Publications, the catalogue received by the audience with great acclaim.

For detailed information: www.planb-venicebiennale.com