A new installation by the influential artist Sarkis will be presented at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia, to be held between 9 May and 22 November 2015. Curated by Defne Ayas, the presentation will take place at a dedicated new location at the Arsenale as recently secured by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) for the duration of 20 years from 2014 to 2034.
A graduate of Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts, Sarkis had his first exhibition at the Istanbul Art Gallery in 1960. Throughout his career, Sarkis has worked with various mediums and has been, since the end of the 1960s, an icon of installation art in particular. His works have been shown worldwide in important art institutions, museums, and galleries, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; the Kunst-und-Ausstellungshalle, Bonn, Germany; the Louvre, Paris; the Bode Museum, Berlin; and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany. Sarkis was also part of When Attitudes Become Form: Works - Concepts - Processes - Situation - Information (Kunsthalle Bern, 1969), Documenta VI and VII (Kassel, 1977 and 1982), and the biennials of Sydney, Shanghai, São Paulo, Moscow, and Istanbul. Recently, Sarkis has had solo shows at Galeri Manâ (Istanbul, 2013), Arter (Istanbul, 2013), the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, 2012); Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris, 2011 and 2014), MAMCO, Museum of Contemporary Art (Geneva, 2011), Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2010), and the Istanbul Modern (2009). He has been living and working in Paris since 1964.
The curator of the pavilion, Defne Ayas, has been the director and curator at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, since 2012. Prior to coming to Witte de With, Ayas was the founding co-director of Arthub Asia in Shanghai (2007-) and founding co-curator of the Blind Dates Project, an artistic platform dedicated to tackling what remains of the people, places, and cultures that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. Since 2005 she has been a curator at Performa, the biennial of performance art in New York. In September 2012, Ayas co-curated the 11th edition of the Baltic Triennial of International Art, to great acclaim. Ayas was the education and new media programs coordinator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York before attending the De Appel curatorial program in Amsterdam. She received an MA from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University in 2003, and a BA in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia in 1999.
The Advisory Board consists of the artist Ali Kazma, Burcu Pelvanoğlu, associate professor of Art History at Mimar Sinan University of Fine Arts; Cristiana Perrella, independent curator and art critic; Lewis Johnson, Associate Professor in history and theory of art and visual culture, Bahçeşehir University; and Zerrin İren Boynudelik, Yıldız Technical University art and design faculty member.
The Pavilion of Turkey at la Biennale di Venezia is coordinated and organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), sponsored by Fiat, and realised under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey.
The 56th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia will run from 9 May through 22 November 2015 and will be curated by Okwui Enwezor.